When Cade was about eighteen months, he went through this phase where he would bring little cups of water to everyone. He would pull his stool over to the bathroom sink, get one of the little Dixie cups I had stacked on the counter, and fill it up to bring to someone.

You might be watching TV or playing on the floor or folding laundry, and he would come toddling around a corner with water sloshing in his cup and a big grin on his face. And the next part is what kept him coming back.

The lucky recipient would say, “Oh, thank you, Buddy! That is so kind of you!” Even an older sibling would smile and excitedly slurp up the water like he hadn’t had anything to drink in days. The more we enjoyed Cade’s water, the more he brought. I noticed one day that there were Dixie cups scattered all over our house–all evidences of Cade’s sweet service.

Now that our kids are older, the whole world seems to emphasize achievement. Your worth is determined by what position you play, what grade point you’ve earned, and how many friends you have stored in your phone. But Jesus said that his achievement awards in heaven won’t be based on any of these standards. What Jesus notices and will reward is service. He said that whoever gives cups of cold water in his name will receive awards that will never be lost or tarnish. (Matthew 10:42)

Cade’s Dixie cups remind me that when we recognize our kids’ service, and when we cultivate a home where service is appreciated, we spur them on to serve more–and to be truly great.

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