Can you imagine your kids willingly doing a chore for their brother or sister…AND not asking for recognition? Sounds like it might work for another family, but not yours?! Read what Randi Beth learned about serving her brother growing up. I’d like to high five her parents!
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms… If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:9-11
One Christmas my parents came up with a brilliant idea and started a tradition holding to this day: “the filling of the manger.” The tradition in the Burton household is filling the manger by performing “good deeds.” If I discovered my brother, Lee, made my bed that morning, I put a handful of hay in the manger. If he noticed that I took out the trash when it was his turn, he put a handful of hay in the manger.
We couldn’t tell the other when we had done our deed. It was up to them to notice, and if they didn’t, we had to be okay with that. So Lee and I spent the Christmas holidays thinking of ways we could serve one another. Every Christmas Eve, just in time for the reading of the birth of Jesus, the manger was full.
What directed our focus?
- We were serving one another. Jesus set the ultimate example. He said in Mark 10:45 that He did not come to be served but to serve. We had to humble ourselves to a point of serving each other instead of demanding attention and respect. This strengthened a bond within us as siblings that is strong to this day.
- We were thinking less of ourselves. Philippians 2:3 says it adequately; we should “consider others better than ourselves.” It’s amazing what happens when we take our focus off of ourselves. I cared less about whether or not I was getting my way and was focused more on how I could be nice to my brother.
- We were serving together as a family. Lee and I are more than just earthly brothers and sisters. We are brothers and sisters through the blood of Jesus. When we serve alongside one another, we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus together. Participating in this Christmas tradition set the foundation for many years of service together as a family, where we not only serve each other but serve others together as well.
Our Christmas tradition wasn’t about how quickly we could fill the manger or who filled it with more or less handfuls of hay. It was about being unselfish, demonstrating Christ’s love to one another, and considering each other better than ourselves. In this way we were Christ’s witnesses, and through Jesus Christ and His love through us, God was glorified. That’s what serving together is all about.
Do you have brothers and sisters or a group of friends who feel like family? What would it look like if you served each other and served others together? What would your conversations sound like? What would your time together look like? Could you glorify God in this way?