Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Serving Everyone But...

It's been quite a while since I have written for our little blog here. The last month has been an absolute whirl wind for me...

During the last week of June, the youth group led a 24-7 week of prayer at our church after constructing an interactive prayer room. Super cool week. Check out www.24-7prayer.org to find out more about this kind of thing.

Then shortly after that, I left for nine days with my 7th and 8th graders to head to Washington DC to work with the homeless, elderly and underprivileged children. We also went to Youth Specialties' DCLA conference. Also, a super cool week.

THEN, right after DC I left with my high school students for Tijuana, Mexico to build houses for needy families and work at an orphanage. It was an even better, super cool week.

THEN...in two days we move to the next town over. So we've...I've been a little busy.

So after all of that you might think that my blog would be about balancing my calendar better and not being a work-a-holic...but it's not. (I'm sure both of those issues will make their way to our blog soon enough.)

What I want to write about now is something that I noticed in myself on both of these trips and also came up from the students on both of these trips. That is, why is it easier to serve other people but yet it's often the most difficult to serve the people closest to you??

For four weeks, I served people over and over and over again, most of which I had never met before. Some of the people were those who are hard to love - smelly, messed up drunks on the street; terminally ill patients; and Mexicans who I can't speak with because I suck at Spanish. Some were easy to love, the children at the day program in DC and in the neighborhoods of Tijuana, as well as the kids in my own youth programs. Regardless, I willingly and gladly served all sorts of people all month

But yet, the person I love the most in this world (sorry Mom, not you...), my wife, my soul mate I fail to serve, or do so with a bad attitude, on a regular basis! Why is that?!?!?!? I think we see this in our families as well - our siblings, parents and children. Again, why is it harder to serve them than complete strangers?

To be honest, I don't really have the answer to this question. I would really love your thoughts if this relates with you.

I mean, I know the Sunday School answers - we're all selfish people, we're all sinful, etc. But I am all of those things with other people, not just my wife, so what's the deal? Is it a trust or comfort thing where we believe the person will never leave us so we let our selfishness fully hang out? Is it simply laziness? But why with our family does it present itself more? Again, please send me your thoughts...

With all of this in mind, my prayer for myself, and for all of you reading, is that we would be servants first and foremost to our spouses and families, before everyone else. So often they get the leftovers and it's not right. Paul writes in Ephesians "wives, submit to your husbands" and "husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." That is the attitude we should all have and is honestly the key to a happy and successful marriage.

How have you served your spouse or significant other today?
Do you find it more difficult to serve your spouse than others? Why or why not?

Jake

2 comments:

  1. It's a great question and I definitely know what you are talking about. I think part of it is absolutely selfishness. I think part of it is taking those near us granted (ie. it's easy to make a big effort to serve for 1 week a year, rather than constantly for the other 51 weeks), but I think a big part of it is vunerability too. When we serve others, we make ourselves vunerable because we're putting others before ourselves. However, when we do something as big as feed the hungry or build homes for the homeless, there is little risk in that for us. One, who is going to be mad at you for feeding them - they will be grateful. And two, if they don't appreciate it, you can easily just dismiss their opinion as a stranger that you don't really care about.

    However, when we serve our spouse, our family, etc, we really make ourselves vunerable because if they don't like it, if they don't say thank you, if they don't reciprocate, it's essentially a form of rejection. And it hurts. And in marriage with imperfect people, you're going to get hurt.

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  2. Yeah...I think you are totally right Chris. It's hard to serve people that you are invested in emotionally and risk them not appreciating your service or rejecting it or not even seeing it. Then your feelings get hurt. It's much easier to feed the homeless..you know they appreciate food and so you can feel goo about yourself. Serving those closest to you involves serving and possibly not getting any sort of good "feeling" afterward and also possibly feeling hurt as well. You hit the nail on the head :)

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.