Most Christians are familiar with the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples on the night that Jesus would be betrayed. In Jesus' day, it was the custom of a slave to make sure that guest's feet were washed.
None of the 12 disciples even considered making sure this was done for their group. Jesus seized the opportunity to take a basin of water and began to wash his disciple's feet. This is a great story to illustrate how all of us are called to service.
When I think of serving others, Pastor Kevin comes to mind. It's not unusual to see Pastor Kevin at any given time at the church because there are well over a thousand children under his care. He had several full time and volunteer staff who report to him. Whenever I saw Pastor Kevin at the church, he wasn't preaching, administrating or any such thing. He was quietly using a large mop, cleaning up the floor from the mob of children who were there earlier. You see, Pastor Kevin was just quietly serving; he was a true servant.
Serving is a virtue of being a Christian. I know many of us strive to lead but Christ calls us to serve. "Who will be the greatest in the kingdom?" the disciples asked Jesus. He answered that the servant was the greatest. Throughout Scripture, Jesus talks about the importance of being a servant.
In the kingdom of God, servants are what God is looking for. In a Christian marriage, this is also true.
When we are called to marriage, we are called to servitude. We are saying, "I do" to serve the other person all the days of our lives. I know some of us have it backwards; we think marriage is a deal in which our spouse is made to be our servant. Sorry, we are both called to serve each other.
Your spouse will have several areas of need where you can serve them, and I thought it would be a good idea to discuss these various areas. In doing this, you can more clearly see how you are doing as far as serving your spouse.
Your spouse needs you to serve them spiritually. You can serve by being spiritually strong yourself by praying, being in the Word and having good Christian friends.
Everybody needs an emotional cheerleader, someone who encourages you and walks alongside when you are feeling down. Emotional servants don't have to solve problems; they just need to be present.
A very important area of your spouse's life is their physical body. Some spouses are great about taking care of their body and others are, let's say, less responsible. Part of serving your spouse is trying to be reasonably fit. When you don't exercise, your stress accumulates and you can become less fun for everyone around you.
If there is something of material value that your spouse would enjoy and is reasonable, serve each other by creating, managing and tithing, and you probably can get that desire, be it a necessity or just a toy. Serving each other materially feels great.
These are just a few ways you can serve your spouse. I encourage you to take an honest look at how you are serving your spouse in these areas. Pick an area you would like to grow in and zero in on it, make some goals and get accountable. Serving is a heart attitude that will continue to grow as you apply it on a regular basis.
As you serve and maybe out-serve your spouse, the dynamics in your marriage begin to change. Change is usually a good thing. Serve fully and keep your eyes on Jesus, not your spouse. Feel His smile at the end of the day, when you can feel Him say, "Well done, you good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:21b)
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including The 7 Love Agreements. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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