Monday, June 23, 2008

Thoughts on servanthood

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." Philippians 2:5-7

"When He washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also outght to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." John 13: 12-15

This past week, in Sunday School,(several weeks ago, now) we were studying the passage in Philippians that I have just referenced. I thought it an interesting tie-in with what I had been hearing on the radio, on Family Life Today. They were talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about Biblical womanhood. And they also talked about being a servant. One of the terms they talked about was "doormat". In our culture being a "doormat" has very negative connotations. But what is a doormat? On the program they pointed out that a doormat has a good and specific purpose. What does it do? It wipes the feet. What did Jesus do? John 13 tells us that He washed the feet of His disciples. You can read some thoughts I had a few months ago on being a doormat here .

God created woman to be a servant. "...But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Genesis 2:20b-23

So, what does this look like? Well, a lot of what it looks like depends upon your beloved. The things I do that make me an ideal helpmeet for my Beloved, may be totally different than what your beloved needs. In general, we serve them within the home. We cook, clean, and care for the children ~ which may include homeschooling. Some of us take care of the finances. Some of us take care of the yard, or animals.

The first thing we should do, is to cultivate our relationship with the Lord. If I am going to be servant-hearted, and be willing to put others needs before my own, I need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit! I don't know about you, but I tend to be pretty selfish, and that can make things fairly unpleasant around our house. :-( My desire is to joyfully serve my husband and children, and I can only do that when I am steeped in the Word of God.

Second, we need to be students of our husbands. I need to know him ~ perhaps even better than he knows himself. I want to be able to not just respond to his needs, but to anticipate them. But, to be able to anticipate, I need to know. Otherwise, I'm just guessing. I can read about things that other wives do, but that should just be a starting place for me ~ if I'm struggling. What one man needs, is not necessarily what another man needs. So, I can talk to other wives, or read, or whatever, but I need to know my husband and what his needs are to truely be a helpmeet to him. For example, some men are highly organized and detail oriented, others need their wives to come alongside them and help them plan things out so that they can attain the goals they have. Some men are financial wizards, others are terrible at handling money and need their wives to take care of paying the bills, some may want you to sit down with them and do it together.

Third, I believe we need to extend the grace and freedom to our beloved to let him be who he is. We need to recognize that he is not our Daddy, nor is he our ex, or any other man who influenced our ideas on what men are. This can be difficult! I grew up in a household where we got our own hay in, we went out during the summer and cut wood, etc. My husband often just buys our wood. This drove me batty for a long time ~ we should be doing this ourselves! However, my Beloved has worked 2 and 3 jobs for the majority of our married life. He just does not have the time to go out and scout for wood, get it cut, brought home, stacked, etc. It took me a long time, but I finally learned that he was providing for us just as well as my Dad did, just in a different way. It can be difficult too, if we have had damaging relationships with men. Sometimes we will attribute those negative qualities of an ex or bad Dad to our beloved, always expecting the worst from him.

And finally, one of the most important ways we can serve our husband is to daily lift him before the Throne of Grace. What greater way to look after his needs, than to petition Almighty God on his behalf? As we daily lift our beloved before the Lord, I believe that He will also give us wisdom in how best to meet his needs, and we too, will benefit in our role as helpmeet to our husband.

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