This month we’re focusing on a topic that is important whether you’re married or single. Service. Compassion. The hallmarks (hopefully!) of a Christian life.
As a single person, I worried that I was too selfish. I volunteered, I had a government job, I served at church – but at heart, it was all my decision, my choice, my control over my time. Getting married, it’s true – there is someone right in front of you all the time, ready to be served. Whether it’s cooking meals, doing dishes, cleaning laundry, vacuuming, buying food, giving a hug at the end of a long day – there is always a way to serve your partner.
What’s even more important is that I have to serve my husband even when I don’t feel like it. See, when I was single, I could call off – if I was sick, if I was tied up at work, or if I just plain didn’t feel like it. But in marriage, there’s no calling off – that’s the whole “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse” part, in case you weren’t paying attention when you said it ;-).
As you learn to be compassionate about your partner’s flaws, and feel the grace that comes from your partner’s compassion about yours, you better understand God’s love for His church. Marriage is like a daily lesson in both service and compassion. If you are a single person hoping to be married, there is truly no better preparation than to grow in these areas.
But I want to do something more.
I just read Falling Free by Shannan Martin, who is one of my favorite Christian bloggers. Her book is about radical love – the kind of love where you’re willing to sacrifice your own happiness and security to reach out to others. She and her husband went from political players in DC to living on a country farmhouse to being called to do jail ministry in the inner city. Along the way they adopted four kids, including a 17 year old who went through several stints in jail. They put their finances and their hearts on the line. They welcomed in the outcast. They were Jesus.
I am not proposing that you sell your house to live in the inner-city (and trust me, my husband wouldn’t go for that kind of thing). But I am proposing that when we think about service and compassion, that we push ourselves. Sometimes the hardest service to do is simply to open your home to your neighbors, especially the ones who are difficult.
So for this month’s challenge, it will be simple: each week, do ONE thing that is an act of service or compassion. It could be as basic as babysitting for a friend, or it could be a radical act, such as taking time to not just buy, but also eat a meal with the homeless.
Once again, we’re doing a book giveaway – if you post in the comments section of the blogpost at the end of the month, you’ll be entered to win!
Let’s challenge ourselves and each other to truly be Jesus’ hands and feet through service and compassion this month! Can’t wait to hear what you do!