In our Mama Heart Like Jesus series we are studying how Jesus discipled His followers as a model for discipling our own children.
Next we looked at how Jesus built close relationships with his disciples through quality time, words of life, and restoring relationships.Then we focused on Jesus’ approach to protecting His disciples from evil, teaching them to be in the world but not of the world, and we discussed protecting our kids from the lies of the enemy.
This month we are discussing how Jesus equipped His disciples to show God’s love to others. This week we will discuss ways Jesus sent His disciples out to share His love with others.
“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘… As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.’” Matthew 10:5 (NIV)
Jesus sent the disciples out to share the good news and minister to others once they had been equipped to do so. Likewise, once we give our kids a sense of purpose, equip them to bear good fruit, and model sharing Jesus’ love with others, it’s time to send them out. Just like Jesus used a boy who was willing to share his lunch to feed 5,000, God can use our kids too. In fact, children have a unique position and faith that allows them to impact the world around them in significant ways. We can encourage our children to share God’s love wherever they go and pray that God will use them as He chooses.
Here are three ways Jesus sent out His disciples.
1. Jesus encouraged His disciples to minister wherever they went.
“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” Luke 10:2 (NIV)
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
The harvest is all around us. We don’t see it with our physical eyes because we are distracted by worldly things. We are more concerned about the meal we want to order than the heart of the person serving that order. We focus more on getting out of the store than taking a minute to pray for the cashier or bagger serving us. But Jesus was different. He saw the harvest everywhere He went, and He can help us and our kids to see it too. He knows exactly who is in need of His love, hope, faith, and salvation. When we ask God to give us His eyes to see those around us in need of Him, our eyes become more open to divine appointments. Then we will see the opportunities Jesus brings us to share His love with others.
How do we practically do this with our children as we send them out?
- Pray before entering a store, school, or extra curricular activity for opportunities to share God’s love with others.
- Encourage your kids to share Jesus. Here are some ways..
- Pass out verse cards or gospel tracts
- Tell people that Jesus loves them
- Ask others how you can pray for them
- Share about the hope you have in Jesus
- Praise your kids when you see them ministering to others and sharing their faith.
2. Jesus Encouraged His Disciples to Serve Others
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14 (NIV)
Jesus clearly put an emphasis on serving when sharing His love with others. He modeled this with His disciples and taught them in a visual way through washing the disciples’ feet. Perhaps they needed this hands-on experience to really understand the importance of service. Likewise, we can teach our kids the heart of service at a young age. This not only teaches them to share God’s love by their actions but helps build their character by teaching them to be kind and selfless as well.
Check in with your local church, Christian school, or with other Christian parents for ideas and connections. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.
- Feed the poor through a local food kitchen, homeless ministry, or clothing pantry.
- Take care of the elderly through a Christian organization or local nursing home.
- Help refugees through ministries that provide resources to make them feel at home.
- Serve at a children’s Bible club to share Jesus with unchurched kids and youth.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14 (ESV)
3. Jesus called His followers to go and make disciples of all nations.
This was an important calling for His disciples and all those disciples to come after them because Jesus wants the whole world to come into a relationship with Him. The way He creates disciples is through other followers. Because we are His followers, the torch has now been passed to us, and from us to our children. How are we making disciples of all the nations and encouraging our kids to do so as well? We may not be called to be long term missionaries overseas, but we can still be a part of the great commission in many ways.
Here are a few suggestions to get your kids focused on missions.
- Sponsor a child from a reputable Christian organization like World Vision or Compassion.
- Research unreached countries and pray for one each week.
- Go on a mission trip as a family.
- Encourage your kids to participate in a short-term mission trip with their youth group.
Sending our kids out is part of raising them up to follow Jesus. They don’t have to become full-time missionaries to do this. The more we allow our kids to share God’s love with others wherever they go, the more they will become mission-minded. As they serve others, their character will become more like Jesus. And the more they focus on world missions, the more they will have a heart for others like Jesus.