Several years ago, my adult son sat in the car with me as his father went into a local dining establishment to pick up our take-out order. Dan was home for his yearly Christmas visit and, as usual, we were enjoying his company thoroughly. Watching my husband disappear into the restaurant, we sat companionably as traffic passed by on the busy street. All of a sudden he said, “Marriage is just mutual servitude.”
Where did that come from? Did I detect sarcasm, or was my bachelor son just being flippant?
Caught off guard by his proclamation, I fought the impulse to be defensive. Yes, dad was willing to run into the restaurant and pick up our food, and yes, he’s always attentive to keep our vehicles fueled up, and help with the dishes, etc. And I’m content to do the weekly laundry, pay the bills, clean the house, etc. We take care of each other, and experience the profound peace of knowing we each have the other one’s best in mind.
Perhaps that is mutual-servitude. Hopefully it is the fulfillment of Jesus’ command to love others more than ourselves. Definitely it is only possible because Jesus loved us first, and He models the way we should love each other.
At this time of Valentine hearts, chocolate, and roses, how are you doing at really loving those around you?
I’ll think I’m doing pretty good at being sacrificial and generous, when unexpectedly a thoughtless barb escapes my lips, wounding a friend. Certainly, I need the Holy Spirit’s continual guidance, grace and control.
This February as my husband and I celebrate 40 years of marriage, I’m truly thankful that God has poured His love into our hearts; first for our Savior, and then for each other. The Apostle John asserted in his first letter to the church that, “We love because He first loved us.” (Jn 4:19) So, I need to see my son’s long-ago comment as a compliment! If he sees his parents gladly serving each other, then we’re bringing glory to God. For love is God’s idea from start to finish. It is His very character. He loved us so much that He sent His only son to die for us that we would not perish but, by trusting in Jesus, have eternal life.
We are called to practice the Apostle Paul’s instruction in Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Though our culture concentrates on romantic love each February, how might we intentionally show God’s kind of love to those in around us? Let’s emphasize peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.
Every day brings opportunities to grow in love and share it!