When Kids MUST!

Joey & Carla Link

October 7, 2020

There are a lot of “musts” in life, like “Right Lane must Turn Right” or “All Visitors must Register at Office”. Teachers are always telling kids they must sit down and parents tell them they must settle down. But what happens if they don’t? Jesus’s disciples (His earthly children) were arguing with each other over who was going to be the greatest disciple in heaven. Jesus had to step in and settle the argument in the same way you often have to step in when your kids argue. We had this issue with our kids over who would get to sit in the front seat of the van, or who got to be first to try something new when on a family activity. Settling these arguments is not only frustrating for parents, but emotionally draining as well as you feel you have to choose between your kids, becoming an arbitrator and judge. And that’s when you hear “That’s not fair!” from the losing child. When Jesus stepped in with the disciples who were acting like children, He used a must word from Mathew 20:26. He said,
“It must not be this way among you!Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.” In other words, “It’s not an option. I am not going to deal with this, I am not going to judge and I am not going to have this in our home!” We like to give practical parenting tips here, but it looks like Jesus didn’t give any. It appears He just said “Knock it off kids!” in a statement and they jumped. No lectures, no reminders. He just said “This is not the way followers of God talk or act!” We did this with our kids too. When they argued over who got to sit in the front, whether it was Joey or I driving them somewhere we would say, since you can’t agree, all of you get to sit in the back. The one who argued the loudest got the very back seat. Because they were arguing and weren’t using their words wisely, they also lost the freedom to talk. When you keep dealing with the same things over and over again, chances are you are ignoring the root issue buried deep in the ground where you can’t see it. You can see the symptoms of it, but it is difficult to think about the fact that there is something driving those symptoms you need to sort out. Jesus knew what the root issue amongst His disciples was and He spells it out for them. “You must serve each other“. Jesus drew a line in the sand that said “it’s not about you and what you want, it’s about caring for and serving each other which you are not doing by fighting over who will be first.” It’s interesting He chose the word “serve“. In biblical times, servants worked behind the scenes doing menial tasks most did not want to do. He is telling all of us to be willing to do anything that furthers His Kingdom. But Jesus didn’t stop there. He took it to a deeper level in the next verse by saying, “You MUST be slaves to each other.” I am sure that got their attention! What is the difference between a servant and a slave? Servants are hired help that can choose not to do a task, a slave is owned by another person and does not have the option of saying no.   When working with your kids, they are slaves when you, by your authority tell them to do something for their siblings. For example, if it is your daughter’s week to clear the table and load the dishwasher but knowing she has a big exam the next day you tell your son to do it for her, out of obedience he has no choice but to do them. Teaching Kids to be Servants

  • Kindness counts. When teaching your kids to be servants, teach them to be kind to each other. I would not use the word “servant” as that can cause issues between your kids. When they are being unkind, have them sit to get self-control. After they apologize to you, they need to apologize to their sibling(s) then tell them how they are going to make their wrong right. They need to tell them something kind they are willing to do for them.
  • Do family projects that serve others. We always did Samaritan’s Purse filling a shoebox for kids in places that didn’t get Christmas gifts. When our kids were very young, we would have them do above and beyond chores to earn the money to fill their shoebox. Now it takes at least $35+ to fill a box. We didn’t tell them that. We just had them do the chores. Even a 2 yr. old can dust baseboards. We had a family night, going out for pizza then shopping to fill the boxes. At the pizza place we helped them make lists of things (like underwear) the kids needed along with getting them things they thought they would want.
  • Praise them. When you see them spontaneously do a kind act be sure and praise them for it.

“It must not be this way among you!Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.”Matthew 20:26(in all verses in this post italicizes and underlines are added by us)

For more information, check out the Mom’s Notes presentations below!

Building Family Identity – In this presentation you will find 8 ways to build your family’s spiritual life, which includes teaching them to be servants and 10 ways to build their emotional life together

Family Forum with the Link Family – Our 3 children, in their later teen and college years sat down with over 200 parents and answered their questions about being raised in our family. If you would like to hear from kids about being raised with biblical principles, here is your chance!