Christ’s Kingdom: Loving is Serving is Authority

A Marriage Parody on Loving Servant-Leadership

Our most recent article focused on a marriage tip regarding real authority and “who wears the pants in your marriage/family?”  The 2 pair of pants, found in 2 acronyms were “Proper Authority Needed To Succeed” and Proper Attitude Needed To Serve.”  According to God’s Word when we “lord it over others” we are not actually in authority but are practicing according to the world and unbelievers (Matthew 20:20-28).  On the other hand when we lovingly submit and serve we are actually in the position of authority according to Christ’s teaching and modeling in His Kingdom.  Jesus modeled this in washing the disciples’ feet in John 13 and going to the Cross (Philippians 2:3-8).  That’s where I want to be in my marriage, family and in all relationships and situations. 

In order to make this point, I share a parody on love and servant-leadership entitled, “Clothes Basket on the Stairs.”

Before I do I remind both husbands and wives that it may not be clothes basket for you so be sure to fill in the blank so that you will not miss the lesson.

A couple has been married about five years. The husband comes home one evening from work and as he ascends the steps he sees a clothes basket sitting on them. He wonders to himself, “Hmm, what in the world is that?”

He walks on up the stairs and gets ready for the evening.

About four years later he encounters the basket on the stairs again.  This time he says to himself, “That’s a clothes basket.  Somebody’s doing laundry.”

Another three years pass and he comes home and finds the clothes basket once again on the stairs.  “This must be my wife doing these clothes.  She’s really good as this is the third time in 12 years that she’s done the laundry.  She’s awesome.”  So he shouts up the steps, “Honey, thanks for doing the laundry.”

Suddenly there’s a “thud” and he rushes up the stairs to find his wife passed out on the floor.  “Hmm,” he wonders again.  And then he changes clothes and gets ready for the evening.

Now it’s been nearly 13 years of marriage and he comes home one evening to an empty house.  He once again sees the basket full of clean clothes on the stairs and thinks, “Wow, my wife is incredible.  She’s done laundry four times in 13 years!  She’s goooood!”

He decides to take the clothes up the stairs and put them all away himself.  He also expects it’s going to be a “good” night (you know what I mean because he’s been so thoughtful and helped out.  His wife is going to “reward” him.  Well, his wife comes in after carting the kids around to piano, soccer, drama and karate practice on top of the long day of cleaning the house and yes, the clothes.  She drops into bed and immediately falls asleep giving no thought to the missing clothes basket on the stairs or to her husbands longing looks and desires. 

Except for his frustration in unmet expectations, all else is well until the next morning when the figurative fireworks explode as no one can find any of their clothes.  Shirts are where pants should be.  Pants are in with underwear.  Bras are with blouses and everyone is running late.

I’m sure you get the point.

When I finish this parody, I ask the wives what it would mean for their husband to be involved in such a way that there would be no fireworks?  Usual answers include, “It means he cares.”  “It means that he takes the time to know us.”  “It means he’s thinking of us.”  Or, “It means that he loves us.”  Exactly…love is a commitment, a choice, an act of the will over and over again for the good of others. 

Then I ask, “Why?”  Most struggle or have to think about this.  I then add, “It means he’s invested in you, your marriage, and your family.  He takes the time to know you and that’s what love does and is.” 

Now remember, don’t dismiss this story because clothes and laundry aren’t your issue.  I had one couple come to me after sharing this parody and both were laughing out loud because he had decided to step up and help with the laundry one time but she was so rigid, by her own admission, that she decided never again would anyone touch the laundry and mess up her system.  That said, be sure to think through and fill in the blank with an area where you are neglecting or unwilling to serve and begin today to change that.  You will be amazed at what it does in your marriage if you both are willing to intentionally invest in each other and your marriage.

I shared this quote with a young man I was mentoring who was later called into the ministry.  “Time, not money, is the real currency of our lives.  Money, when spent, can be replenished.  Time, when spent, is gone forever.”  – R. Triplett

He called me one evening very busy studying for his ministry class, but in order to do so he was going to have to back out of date night with his wife.  I shared the quote and my thoughts about living out the priorities of relationships regarding The Lord, marriage, family, ministry or vocation in that order.  He asked how he could make this work in “opting” to study but had assured his wife that “his heart was with her.” 

I spoke with him about not deceiving himself and quoted Matthew 6:21 replacing the word “treasure” with perhaps the greatest treasures that God gives us: time and our spouse.  I reminded him that whatever he spends his time doing is where his heart ultimately is.  So he was only deceiving himself when he chose to miss date night but soften the blow to his wife by saying his heart was with her. 

He promptly stopped his studying and went on a date with his wife.  He also finished the class, went into a fruitful full-time campus ministry position, and now he and his wife are working together in a successful real estate venture.  God is good and if we will heed His words and wisdom, regardless of the cost, we will be blessed.

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Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Authority is serving.  Serving is intentionally choosing and acting on that choice to invest in others above self for their good.  In a phrase, authority in Christ’s Kingdom is “Others above self.”

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – 1) Look for things in others that they need or could use your help with; 2) Think of ways to actively meet those needs; 3) Be willing to serve and meet those needs even and especially when you must sacrifice; 4) Serve others without expecting anything in return.