For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13 NLT)
He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” (Mark 9:35 NLT)
One of my favorite programs to watch is Downton Abbey. Even though it no longer airs on PBS as a regular show, I still enjoy watching it on streaming platforms as well as the full-length movies. If you’ve ever followed the show at all, you immediately understand that there is a distinct difference between the servants and those whom they serve. One thing that particularly stands out for me is that the servants know that serving is their job; it’s what they have been trained to do and have been part of families who have been doing it for generations. Most don’t seem to resent their positions but, rather, take great pleasure and pride in serving with excellence.
It’s unfortunate, but in life and marriage, many have forgotten that we are to be servants of one another. I think most people go into a marital relationship thinking about what they are going to get out of it instead of what they are going to contribute. Imagine what our lives would be like if we woke up every morning with the thought, “How may I serve my spouse today?” The very best servants are those who try to anticipate the needs of someone even before they ask. I’m not suggesting that we become mind readers. What I am suggesting is that we pay attention to our mates and study them to discover where they need help so that we can lessen their loads any way we can. More times than not, it’s in the little things we do.
Some time ago, I heard a motivational speaker tell of the experience of his first job as a valet for the Ritz-Carlton. He shared that their motto was: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” He told us that it was stressed that this philosophy was not just for their clientele but amongst the team of workers as well. Sometimes I think it’s easier for us to put on a good front as we are out and about in the world, but once we cross the threshold of our homes, we forget to continue to be servants. If anything, this is where we need the most practice. In other words, we need not take each other for granted in this area. I know the idea of putting others first is not a popular concept in today’s culture, but, as Believers, we are not of this world or culture.
Let’s pray that God gives us a servant’s heart toward our mates. Let’s make ourselves available to each other by serving one another, and let’s see who can out-serve the other. Mark 10:43b reads like this: If you want to be the greatest, then live as one called to serve others. When we become servants, we become the greatest in God’s eyes.