Wednesday, October 8, 2014


The world we live in tries very hard to make us think solely about ourselves. Entire industries are based on marketing campaigns designed to make us think that if only our needs and desires were met, and completely fulfilled, then we would be happy and our lives complete. Ads across all media platforms declare that we need the latest phones, the biggest, highest definition TVs, the fastest internet speeds, the most channels. "You deserve it!" they blare. "You're worth it! You! It's all about you! Look out for number one!"

This self-centeredness can infect all aspects of our lives if we aren't careful to guard our hearts and minds against the constant pressure the world puts on us, both blatantly and subtly, insidiously. We hop from job to job, looking for one that provides us the best pay, the most vacation days, the sweetest benefits package. Not that its wrong in itself to weigh these factors as we make decisions, but are they most important? What about asking where God wants you right now? How about looking for where you can have the most impact, can do the most to usher in the kingdom?  People change churches, and even denominations, looking for one that feeds them, one that makes them feel good about themselves, one whose ministries serve them and their world view. Do they ask where they are being called to work, to affect the lives of those around them? DO they ask where they can start ministries for congregations that are in some way or another underserved?

I think this "me first" attitude is also a factor in the skyrocketing divorce rates in our society. People are quick to throw out a relationship when their needs aren't being met, when their expectations are not fulfilled. The grass being greener on the other side of the proverbial fence is one of Satan’s favorites. People are prone to falling for it because leaving sounds a whole lot easier than working to improve the relationship you're already in.

What if we adopted a modified version of John Kennedy's mantra for our marriages? "Don't ask what your marriage can do for you. Ask what you can do for your marriage." Paraphrasing Andy Stanley from a podcast a while back, "Our goal as husband or wife should be to constantly out-serve our spouse." Christ was speaking in more 'big picture' terms in Mark 9:35

He said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last, and servant of all”

but I think the message applies to marriage too. Want to have a great marriage? Want to be a great spouse? Choose - daily - to serve each other. I am not saying be a slave or a doormat. I am not saying completely neglect your own needs. I am saying you should put your spouse's needs first whenever possible. At a leadership conference I recently attended, Krish Dhanam said, "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself; just less often."

So there’s the challenge for this month. Find ways to out-serve your spouse. Not sure of how to do that? Don’t know what he or she might need done, or would really, really appreciate? Do what Kennedy said, and ASK (communication, as always, is key.)