Today I want us to roll up our sleeves and thing about whose feet we're to wash and how! Yes, we're launching into a series on serving God while spiritually single.
I say 'washing feet' because when we serve the church, our family, or people outside the church that's exactly what we're doing: Putting ourselves aside, like Jesus did, to show love to others.
As Jesus said --
If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet (John 13:14, NKJV).
Now, I reckon for us -- The church of the unequally yoked -- God has an absolute array of things for us to be doing. What's more, the good works he prepared you for will look completely different to the good works he prepared others for. It's exciting to find out these things.
And, God equips us. For example, God might have allowed you to walk through a particular life experience so that you can later help others, or he might have given you a particular talent or area of knowledge for others' sake. OR, he might have given you a heart for a particular issue or group of people.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
But now to the elephant in the room: It is truly difficult to serve God when our spouse is not by our side in it. Their attitude to it will impact our choices and ease there, and it's a fine balance. We'll talk about that in a later post.
(1) My personal relationship with God
(2) Washing my family's feet
(3) Washing others' feet
Those three things take up much of my energy. They are like segments of a pie.
If I was to prioritize them I would put my personal relationship with God at the top; everything flows from that. Then, I would put my family and, third, serving others. But I would never not do something to serve others outside my home - however tiny. And, that's the thing: Tiny things can be big in Kingdom terms, because often tiny things are a gesture of the heart.
'Tiny', or 'low key' service towards others can be very simple, like deciding you're going to check in on people who are house-bound, or being a deliberate and regular encourager to others.
This might look quite different to the kind of service within church that's more visible. We might look at the guitar-player at the front or the kids-church volunteer and think because we're not doing something like that we're not serving.
But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-13, NKJV)
I love that verse, and it empowers me to turn up to church and do the quiet things too, like make sure the toilets look clean, or talk to a new person and make them feel like they're valued. That's the sort of stuff nobody notices but God.
Washing others' feet, then, is fabulously diverse and our task is to understand where God wants our energy. I went through a season, for example, where I baked cakes and biscuits for the Sunday service. Now, (in a different church) I pray a lot for my church behind the scenes and that's where my time goes. These sorts of things we do out of a fervent love for others.
And above all things have fervent love for one another (1 Peter 4:8, NKJV)
With all that in mind, then, how about we do an exercise?
Sit with God with a blank piece of paper and pen, and ask him what are the good works he has equipped you uniquely to be doing, and where does he want your 'serving energy'? Be prepared to think outside the box, and hear outside the box!
I'd love to hear your responses in the comments if you feel like sharing.
And .. See you next time!