I knew a man who was frustrated with his family life. He wanted a change. He wanted a better relationship his kids, but whatever he tried, he just couldn’t connect with them. All the children loved their mom, but dad was just kind of… someone they put up with. It reminded me of a tragic bumper sticker I once saw, “If mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy. If dad’s not happy, who cares!”
Unsure of what to do, he decided to pray and ask God for help. After a few days, a thought occurred to him, maybe I should serve them. It sounded like a good idea, but where would he start? So, again he prayed. Lord, help me. How do I serve them? Show me.
And after that, he began to see opportunities popping out of nowhere. One time, his daughter mentioned that she and her husband wanted to go out, but couldn’t find a babysitter. Instead of just sympathizing with them, he volunteered. Another time, his son lost means of transportation, so he loaned him his car. As the weeks and months followed, he helped in all sorts of ways. He took family members to the doctor, hosted birthday parties for his grand kids, gave his children a place to stay as they changed careers, and just served his family anyway he could.
He hadn’t seen these opportunities before, but now they began to appear to him all the time, clear as day. And guess what? His relationships radically changed! He had reinvented himself, and he loved it. Now, his kids wanted to talk to him. They wanted their dad to be around, to be part of their lives, to share experiences with them and open up to him. This man discovered a cardinal principle about life: You can change your life when you change the way you treat people.
The “Jesus” Formula
Jesus gave us a formula for building good relationships. He built his connections to people by serving them and meeting their needs. He healed them, taught them, clothed them, and freed them.
Just as you and I have agendas for what we are doing today or this week, Jesus set an agenda to go out and help people.
Acts 10:38 (NASB) “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Your future changes when you start serving others, because your relationships shape your future.
Take it from our friend who served his family. He was happy because his serving put smiles on their faces, his relationships were growing because he was actively investing time and effort into his family, and best of all his serving was translated as love, and love is what binds us together with others (and binds them to us as well).
As the saying goes, be the change you want to see. If you’re disconnected with family and your relationships seem dry and lifeless, try being a proactive servant. It may surprise you to find how much people open up when they see how much you care.