It Starts at Home

On occasion, especially when tired or distracted, our family has a funny, yet not so funny, habit of looking for ways to be served. It normally starts at dinner time as we each, comfortably sitting at the table, watch anxiously to see who might enter the kitchen first. The moment someone shifts in that direction, requests fly, “As long as your up, can you …?”

By the time nightfall rolls around, the “serve-mes” have reached their zenith. Of course, by then, we’re all reclining, me with my Kindle, my husband and daughter with their television program. Those lovely snacks we crave so incredibly far away ….

Once again, we go in go into hyper-alert, ready for that slightest shift, that sideways glance that might indicate someone is heading to the kitchen.

Why is it so much easier to serve those outside our home?

The gimmes can be quite contagious, but so can the givies. Often it jut takes one person to get things started. Acts of service can create a safe, loving, nurturing environment where each family member submits one to another.

Taking that first step might be hard. Perhaps we fear our loved ones will take advantage of us–will come to expect our service. But there is no fear in love, my friend.

If fear and distrust is holding you back from truly giving yourself to your loved ones, ask God to help you. To heal you from whatever wound has created that fear. Is there a real issue creating this fear? Then address this, speaking the truth in love. If need be, seek help. Commit to moving your family toward intimate, authentic, honest mutual submission and total trust. A trust that says, “I trust you with my whole self. I trust you enough to give myself away.” And recognize, if your relationship suffers from distrust, this healing and relationship building could take time.

Perhaps our pride gets in the way. It’s hard to humble ourselves, to willingly take a servant’s role. But love is not proud, and pride is not fun. Pride creates intimacy barriers that ultimately lead to isolation.

For me, it often comes down to plain selfishness–self-absorption. I get so focused on my needs and wants, it’s easy to forget about those around me. I need to become actively aware of the needs and wants of others. Outside the home, my attitude changes because I know I’m “on mission.” It’s an attitude change that heightens my perception. But somehow, when I come through my garage door, that alertness fades. I get lazy. Compliant. Selfish.

Lord, help me to focus more on the needs and desires of my family. Show me how I can serve them daily. Show me how I can tangibly demonstrate the love of Christ not just “out there,” but within my home.

25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28 NLT).

Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about submitting one to another through daily acts of service. When we read of God’s commands to submit to one another, it’s easy to say, “Yeah, but God says ‘one to another!’ My husband, daughter, co-worker doesn’t serve me! As soon as ….”

That’s conditional obedience, my friend. We are each responsible for ourselves. Focus on your obedience and leave your spouse, brother, neighbor to God. In regard to your sons and daughters, train and model. 🙂

I’d love to hear from you. How can we serve one another in a healthy manner without it becoming co-dependent or skewed? I’m thinking this one could be a book, although I suspect the answer might lie in the motivation. Are we serving out of obedience to Christ or out of guilt or fear? Are we serving without obligation or have we attached strings?

How can we actively combat selfishness in our homes? Do you have an example of a way you served a family member or perhaps how they served you you can share? What was the result? How did it change or enhance the atmosphere of your home.

I’ll give an example of something I did that had greater results than I’d expected. The other day, after my husband went for a long, hot bike ride, I brought his dinner to him along with a cold drink. (Normally, although I prepare the meal, we each serve ourselves in buffet line fashion.) He reacted with such gratitude, beaming as if I’d purchased him major league baseball tickets. My act of love–one that took me tops three minutes–resonated deeply. And added but one more layer of glue to our relationship.

Before I leave you to contemplate over (or fume about) today’s post, I want to thank my July Reach Out to Live Out contributors. It is encouraging to read about all the wonderful ways Christ is loving the world through His children.

The most popular Reach Out story came from Katie Ganshert, a sweet sister in Christ who has been called to reach out to an orphan. (You can watch her vlog here.) Congrats, Katie! You won July’s gift basket. I’ll be contacting you shortly for your mailing address. Please stop by again, after your adoption, and let us know how things progress.


  1. On weekdays, my wife always serves the family with nice dinner and lunch. So when weekend comes, I would try to cook meals for the family as a way to serve my wife and my 2 boys. Also, serving others may not need to be doing something for them. My wife works around the house 24 hours a day. When I let her have her own time outside the home, I know that I serve her in a different way–a break for her to relax or to have her own time with the Lord.

    1. That is beautiful, Dicky! And what a perfect example of the love that blossoms when we “submit one to another.” I can tell you and your wife have a close, loving relationship. And oh, what a model of godly love to show your children! The best way, in my opinion, to help strengthen your children against divorce is to: 1) Train them in Christ 2) Demonstrate a healthy, Christ-centered marriage.

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