Devotionals by Dennis Rainey


DECEMBER 9

Shared Sacrifice

Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." MARK 9:35 

Serving does not come naturally in the Rainey family DNA. Selfishness does.

When our children were small, we gave them chores to teach them to serve one another. Chores included setting the table, loading the dishwasher, putting the silverware away, taking out the trash and helping sweep the floor.

Naturally, this led to some of our biggest battles with our children. Chores undone, half done, poorly done. Chores done with a crummy attitude. Chores done in anger. Children who disappeared during a chore. In fact, at one point all six disappeared at the same time! We thought the rapture had occurred!

Teaching servanthood made us feel like a failure on many occasions.

I remember one specific occasion when I felt desperate to teach our children the importance of serving others. We seated our children in chairs outside on our deck, and I filled a big bowl full of warm water, donned a towel and knelt down and washed their feet. One by one I washed their feet, sharing how the God of the Universe, the Savior of the world, did the same thing with His disciples. We wanted them to have a visual picture of Jesus' words from today's Scripture: "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

Teaching servanthood in our families seems to be a lost art today. To revive it in your home, you may want to manufacture situations in which sharing and teamwork are required: family yard projects, helping each other clean rooms, sharing responsibility for household chores, and so on.

Also, designate certain items such as games or recreational equipment for multi-person use only. Obviously, these suggestions may end up creating additional conflict, but in the meantime all of this will help break down the fortresses of me-centered, arrogant selfishness in your home. 

DISCUSS

How could you teach the importance of servanthood in your family?

PRAY

Pray that you both will be models of a Christlike servant spirit.  

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Real FamilyLife® is conversational in nature and provides practical, biblical tools to address the issues affecting your family. You'll receive motivation, encouragement, and help.

About Dennis Rainey

Dennis Rainey is the president and cofounder of FamilyLife ® a subsidiary of Campus Crusade for Christ, and a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Dennis is senior editor of the HomeBuilders Couples Series® and daily host of the nationally syndicated and award winning radio program FamilyLife Today®. He was the recipient of the National Religious Broadcasters Radio Program Producer of the Year Award for 1995 and 2003. Dennis has authored numerous books including Staying Close, a winner of the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

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