When you serve others, you have to give up a little something to do it (maybe a lot of something).
You offer your time, your money, your talent and possibly a piece of your dignity to fulfill their needs.
Count the Cost of Copying Jesus
I read an awesome article recently about what it means to be a truly great husband. In it, Ann Voskamp tells her sons, “how a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.”
Ann makes it clear – marriage is about serving one another. She says:
Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: commitment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for?
Who am I willing to take the reeking garbage out for and clean out the gross muck ponding at the bottom of the fridge? Who am I willing to listen to instead of talk at? Who am I willing to hold as they grow older and realer? Who am I willing to die a bit more for every day?
In marriage and in life, we often idealize what it means to serve. We imagine these perfect little scenarios where everything fits nice and neatly into our expectations without any big sacrifices necessary.
Of course, that’s not the way REAL life goes.
The truth is service requires love and love gets messy. As Ann points out, “real love will always make you suffer.”
When you serve, there are unpleasant jobs that someone has to do. Who is going to change the dirty diaper? Who is going to wash all the crusty dishes? Who is going to get up at 2:30 A.M. to take care of someone that needs help?
So, while I think we all need to serve, I think we should all ask ourselves, “Who am I willing to suffer for?”
Even Jesus tells us to count the cost before we get involved.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28 ESV
Who will you suffer for? Are you willing to suffer for your spouse? What about Jesus? What about some lost people you don’t even know?
Don’t enter into marriage or copying Jesus with an idealized view of what it is going to be like. Wearing nice clothes to church on Sunday morning is great, but REAL Christianity is gritty, messy and involved. Do you have the stomach for it?
Suffering and Service Go Hand in Hand
Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:44-45 ESV
Jesus suffered for us. Do you think the cross was pleasant to endure? No way! It was violent, brutal and messy. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.
You can’t draw a box around REAL service. It is going to take you places you don’t want to go. It is going to stretch you and make you uncomfortable. It is going to be inconvenient, costly and unappreciated (at times).
If this sounds like more than you bargained for, then you probably shouldn’t get involved (or get married).
However, if you think you are ready to commit, then hold on because here’s what Jesus promises:
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. Luke 6:38 NLT
But don’t go off thinking these are earthly treasures that you’ll receive. That can really mess you up. Your treasures are in heaven.