My husband got up yesterday morning and reminded me he had to leave early for work as he walked out the door for his run. His reminder was so I wouldn't forget to make his lunch first. "Why can't he make his own lunch?" I thought, as I hurried through writing my blog so I could get done in time to make his lunch.
My youngest daughter announced in the grocery store yesterday that she no longer liked the lunch I had been fixing her, and she wanted something else. "Really?" I thought. "Isn't it enough that I make your lunch every day?"
My oldest daughter was unhappy from the moment she woke up yesterday after a restless night. She woke up in tears and went to bed in tears. "Why are you crying now?" I thought as I tucked her in last night.
By the time everyone went to bed, all I wanted to do was sit in a quiet corner. Two overtired children had made for a difficult evening. One was bouncing off the walls; the other was weeping at the drop of a hat.
I really didn't feel like serving my family yesterday. I wanted someone else to make lunches, make dinner, file papers and clean up the kitchen. Just once, I wanted to go through the day without having to pick up a mess that someone else had made. Just once, I'd like to walk through the family room without tripping over someone else's shoes.
It's the little things, like those shoes, that trip us up when it comes to taking care of our families. While it's not wrong to want our families to help out around the house, having a me-first attitude isn't what God has in mind for us.
Jesus gave us an example of how to be a servant leader when He washed His disciples' feet, a job usually reserved for the lowliest servant in the household. Washing other people's feet is a disgusting job, especially when those people either went barefoot all the time or wore sandals. I think it's way more disgusting than cleaning the toilets or picking up dirty underwear off the floor.
After He was done washing their feet, He said "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet" (John 13:14). Jesus set an example of how to serve, by taking on the lowliest task of the day, then asked us to follow His example.
We don't always enjoy serving our families. Many parents work full- or part-time, then come home to deal with everything that goes into keeping a family on track -- homework, housework, activities. The grind can become old, and we can start to resent our families, especially when they're acting less than grateful for our effort.
But God sees our service, and He smiles. He looks down on you every time you encourage a child when you would rather throw up our hands and walk away. He sees the lunches you make and the bathrooms you scrub. He sees the piles of laundry you fold and the miles you drive to take your kids places.
When we look at all of these things as acts of service to our families, we gain a different perspective. They're no longer chores. They become acts of love.
The day in-day out grind of life can wear us down. Ask God before you get out of bed each morning to show you how to best serve your family each day. Ask Him to help you view those distasteful or tedious chores as an opportunity to show your family you love them through your service to them.
Serving our families follows Jesus' example, and it shows our kids that service and love go hand in hand. By serving one another out of love, we give our kids a visual picture of what Jesus did when He washed His disciples' feet. And that picture is worth more than any words you can speak on the subject.
How can you serve your family today?
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