Family Devotion Idea: Putting Others First

*About once a week, we try to post the outline of a family devotion that you and your kids can do together. Carve out some time with your kids for a fun and creative discussion this week!



Teaching Goal: 

Love other people by putting their needs first.



Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.

John 13:1-17 – Jesus washes the Disciples’ feet.



paper and marker


warm water

soap and towel

felt – two colors


Lesson and Discussion:

*Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking.  Feel free to use your own words.


Talk about the difference in travel today and in Jesus’ day:

Today: cars, planes, bicycles, paved roads, walking, horses, shoes

Jesus’ Day: no cars, no planes, no bicycles, mostly dirt roads, walking, horses, sandals


In Jesus’ day people walked most of the time.  Their feet got VERY dirty because the roads were made of dirt and mud and people went barefoot or wore sandals.  And, animals used the same roads.  What kind of animals used the roads in Jesus’ day?  Cows, sheep, camels, horses, donkeys.


The animals would (edit with words appropriate for your family) pee and poop on the roads where people had to walk.  Not only were people’s feet dirty, but they probably smelled really bad from animals using the same roads.


In Jesus’ day they had a special job called “foot washing.”  When someone came to your home for a visit, the first thing you would do was offer to wash his/her feet.  People didn’t like the job of “foot washing,” so often a servant was asked to wash the guests’ feet.  The guests really needed their feet washed so that they would be comfortable.


Are there things you don’t like to do?  Maybe you don’t like to do some of the things your mom and dad ask you to do.  Going to bed.  Taking a nap.  Cleaning up toys.


One night, Jesus decided to have a party for twelve of his closest friends.  They all arrived at the party with dirty feet.  They were probably wondering who was going to wash their feet.  Nobody expected Jesus to do that because He is God’s son and the most important person there.


After everyone had arrived for the party Jesus said, “I want to show you how to love one another.  To love one another is to put the needs of the other person above your own needs” (paraphrase).  Jesus then took water and a towel and washed His friends’ feet.  He was being a servant, and He said this is how we should love others.


ACTIVITY #1:  Place a large piece of paper on the floor.  Have your kids take off their shoes and socks.  Trace their feet on the paper.  TRACE TWO SETS of each child’s footprints, side by side.  Allow the children to get their feet dirty.  Consider using a driveway or street gutter where cars drop oil and dirt.  Another idea would be to have children put their feet in a food like chocolate pudding.  The cold, yucky, gooey feeling will help children remember the lesson.  Carry the children to the piece of paper and have them “color-in” one set of footprints with their dirty feet.  Leave the second set clean showing the difference.  Then, have the children sit down so you can wash their feet using the tub of warm water, soap and a towel.  Remind them about travel during Jesus’ day as you wash their feet.


ACTIVITY #2:  Cut a big footprint out of a piece of felt.  Cut small crosses out of a second color of felt.

By washing his friends’ feet, Jesus showed that true love is to serve others and to make their needs more important than your own.  During the next week when family members serve one another by putting the needs of others first, we will glue a cross on the felt foot.

Display the foot in an obvious place.



If you like this devotion idea, there are hundreds more available from Family Time Training.  See the link on the left side of this page for more information.