Others first. This is something I often say to my kids. I got the concept from a book called “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Ripp. I can’t remember if they suggested to use this phrase but I remember it being SUCH a huge revelation in how to teach my children that not only does the world not revolve around them but it’s also a perfect way to explain the way Jesus lived His life.
Now, this is something I had to explain to them over and over and over again and they need reminded often. It is quite difficult for adults to put others first, let alone children. “Others first” takes over the very popular phrase “who had it first?”. Oh how tempting it is to find out who had it first so we can just get on with the day. But what is that teaching our kids?
“Who had it first?” does not teach our kids how to be humble and quite often will give a path to direct them right into lying. Let’s be honest…if a child wants a toy badly enough and you’re always asking them, “Well, who had it first?!”, they’re going to plot and scheme into telling a story that proves they have the right to that toy.
It’s just not good for their ever growing and changing hearts to teach them that whoever had it first gets the toy or whatever else. It’s really hard and completely convicting for me as I tell them, “But what does Jesus say?” Seriously! I’m an adult and I still struggle with selfishness! I am quick to state my rights and validate them (this is where being good at sales can be harmful) 😉
So, the hope is that my kids will remember that Jesus was always putting others first. That’s what made Him Jesus. Well, not really but that’s what he did through and through. He had a heart of humility and as we read in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. *You became imitators of us and of the Lord in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the messae with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia-your faith in God has become known everywhere.*
Imitating Jesus and living and speaking the way He did is not the norm or natural for our world and culture but is such a witness to those who are seeking and lost!
And a P.S. I’m an imperfect mother who has an imperfect love for her children with an every growing desire to love more like Jesus and to teach my kids the same. I need Jesus daily and I know this in my heart…I truly do.