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On Serving My Family in a World Where Serving Isn’t Cool

|by | Simple Homemaking

I wrote a post a while back for The Humbled Homemaker called “Make Your Home a Sanctuary: 5 Questions to Get You There.” It was popular on her site and was met with a gracious and affirming reception.

Recently, however, it was picked up and shared by a large Facebook site with no Christian ties. The negative reaction was truly surprising. Some women hated it, and were eager to share their opinion. They were particularly thrown off by the idea of “serving” their families. That word struck a definite nerve.

Believe me when I say, the reaction in the comments thread was far more negative than positive.

Here’s one comment that summed up the general sentiment in a relatively “polite” way:

“For me it is the implication of serving your husband and children that I find sad. It doesn’t matter what your role is, whether you’re a sahm or a wm the fact that it’s ok to “serve” your family is a sorry state of affairs. If your job is to look after the children and house then that’s fine and we all do our jobs to the best of our abilities but to SERVE your husband and preach to others to do this is why so many women feel unfulfilled. Marriage is a partnership with both parties helping the other to the best of their ability without one serving the other. I find it sad that in 2015 this view is still being held and preached.” -Alex V. 

It makes me a bit nervous to feel despised, but it did get me thinking. Because truly, apart from Christ, that logic makes sense. With the gospel out of the equation, what more is there in life but to pursue our own best interests? If sacrifice will not be rewarded, it is sad. It’s ultimately meaningless.

1 Corinthians 15:19. even Paul says,

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But I know differently.

On Serving My Family in a World Where Serving Isn't Cool

I have personally taken the leap of faith to both believe in Jesus and believe that His way is best. I’ve chosen to lay down my life to elevate those around me –my family being my first and best opportunity most days. 

know that God’s promises are true because I’ve put them to the test! I’ve discovered the benefits of living His way!

What’s more I believe that I will be rewarded for my quiet obedience to God within my home. This confidence is pleasing to God!

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

So when I read reactions such as the one above, I wonder,

How to tell her that sacrificially serving my family is exceedingly fulfilling?

How to tell her that true, deep, unimaginable joy is found in the unexpected economy of the kingdom of God?

After Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He said,

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet… Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:14-17 NIV

Serving one another is the way of the Christ-Follower. And because we know the extent to which Christ humbled Himself and laid down his own rights to serve us, we are willing to do likewise for others as an overflow of His love in us, not for what we will get in return.

This is true love!

Ultimately, I chose not to respond to the comments on that thread.

As much as I wanted to defend myself, I realized I can’t make a logical argument for serving in the home. It doesn’t make sense apart from a life that’s rooted in and regenerated by Christ.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.” John 15: 19-20a

And so, I pray. 

How is God calling you to stand against the current of society?

37 Comments

37 Comments on On Serving My Family in a World Where Serving Isn’t Cool

  1. Autumn Jones
    November 28, 2016 at 12:09 AM (10 months ago)

    I think a lot of the issue with non-Christians is in the translation. When they think of “servanthood,” they think of servants from back in the day who were viewed with much less status, rights, and privilege than those who employed them. To the women of the world, serving your family = being a doormat, which is a concept that cannot be tolerated in today’s feminist world. When you read “serve your family” as “give up your rights, have no opinion, and be a doormat,” of course you see it as unfulfilling! When you understand that we are ALL called to serve each other, and that each member of the family lovingly serves each other in different ways, it is absolutely fulfilling. You’re right, without the context of Christ and HIS definition of servanthood, the way we are called to live doesn’t make sense at all. Great post!

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth Vann
    May 25, 2016 at 1:19 PM (1 year ago)

    I love this so so much. I just recently found your blog and Im convinced we were meant to be friends 😉 I quit my full time job after my little girl was born to “serve” my family. I am not good at it per say… yet. but oh how fulfilling it is. You said it best when you said as a Christian it isnt about the reward its about knowing what Jesus did for others and for US so willingly so lovingly and not being able to hold back doing that for others. Its a fire in the pit of our belly. You cant get more fulfilling purpose or work in my opinion. Unfortunately we cant reason with people who dont have a personal relationship with Jesus. Looking at it from that perspective, I cant blame their opinion. I pray somehow those folks are led back to this blog. Thank you for posting.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      May 25, 2016 at 5:20 PM (1 year ago)

      Amen! I agree, we are meant to be friends!:D It is BEYOND fun to meet like-hearted Christian women around the globe through blogging. I love, love, love it! It really just emphasizes how big and true God is.

      May God bless you as you seek to love (and serve) your family from that place of knowing how extravagantly loved you are in and through Christ!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…How to Find Time for that Dream of Yours (as a Mom of Little Kids)My Profile

  3. LaughingLady
    May 23, 2016 at 11:02 AM (1 year ago)

    “As much as I wanted to defend myself, I realized I can’t make a logical argument for serving in the home. It doesn’t make sense apart from a life that’s rooted in and regenerated by Christ.”

    I think you’ve nailed a huge part of the problem North American Christians have made for themselves. We seem to forget that much of what we preach really doesn’t make sense without faith in Christ and we get argumentative and defensive instead of loving and patient when challenged. GREAT post.

    Reply
  4. Carmen
    May 18, 2016 at 9:49 AM (1 year ago)

    This is a great post. I’m so glad you wrote this because it opens up our eyes as Christians that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood so defending yourself with people that can not comprehend who we are in Christ is not going to change their mind instantaneously.instead you used it for God’s glory and wrote a beautiful article. Can you post the original article about serving your family?I would like to read it

    Reply
  5. Danelle
    May 9, 2016 at 10:32 AM (1 year ago)

    Thank you Katie!! I just now read this…and it sooo hits close to home for me. I am 33 years old, wife of 13 years, mother of 2 beautiful little people. My son Jace, 10 years old( with special needs) and my daughter Lydia, 16 months old.
    I’m a stay at home wife and mother and I face these same issues everyday. We, as a family, are about to lose our home and its so hard! People say…why wont you do something to help your family? Its more than just”helping my family”….its giving my husband and my children encouragement…meanwhile, trying to stay encouraged myself. I noticed that once i started attending church, going to bible study classes and truly learning the word of God, thats when i fell under attack. I pray everyday…lord, please light my feet and guide me unto your path.
    Its difficult…but i needed to read this today and be reminded that God ALWAYS provides!! God loves me because I am His child.
    Thanks again

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      May 11, 2016 at 4:05 PM (1 year ago)

      Danelle, thank you so much for sharing your story. What you are doing matters greatly, and if God has called you to this, He will faithfully provide for all your needs, even if that doesn’t look how you may want it to at times. I’m taking time now to pray for your housing situation!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Tips to Make Life Easier During A Season of TransitionMy Profile

  6. Camille
    May 8, 2016 at 12:12 PM (1 year ago)

    Thank you and bless you! I have been married 30 years and have 7 wonderful children. Serving is foolishness to a selfish world. Obedience is also a hated word. Thank you for being a light in the darkness, not hiding your light under a basket and being willing to suffer persecution for the sake of the truth. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  7. Maria
    May 8, 2016 at 5:36 AM (1 year ago)

    John 13:35
    By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

    Mark 10:45
    For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,

    Jesus came to earth not just to die for us but also to be an example of who we need to be, we must be like Jesus. And is true, sharing the gospel it starts in our home.

    Reply
  8. Michelle
    May 4, 2016 at 5:51 AM (1 year ago)

    On my blog, I was talking about how I was caught in a thunderstorm trying to get home to make sure dinner was ready in between my husband getting home from work, and a church meeting he had to attend. One person commented should just make his own. The nature of the comment was basically, I’m coddling him. I mean, it’s ok for him to work all day to support me, but it’s degrading if I serve him in another way? I WANT to serve my husband and children. My husband and I have different functions in the family, and neither of them is more glorious. Also, the person who remarked talked about, “looking after the kids.” SAHMs are not babysitters! We aren’t “looking after them” we are raising them.

    Reply
  9. Sheila Qualls
    April 30, 2016 at 11:07 PM (1 year ago)

    Sadly, this is the world we live in. The Women’s Lib movement has taken a very nasty turn. It’s not “cool” to serve your family. It’s “cool” to bash your husband and brag about what a terrible mom you are and long for the time your kids go to school so you can sit in the closet and drink a glass of wine. Stay strong. You are on the right course.

    Reply
  10. Susie
    April 29, 2016 at 12:24 PM (1 year ago)

    I actually disagree with you. I don’t think those comments are logical at all. Serving (whether it is involved, or not) makes people happier. Scientific fact. And the easiest and most needful place to serve is in the home.

    **disclosure: did not actually read your original article.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      April 29, 2016 at 8:04 AM (1 year ago)

      Thank you so much Joanna! I was shocked too. It made my stomach hurt for many reasons. Not least of these being, how sad to miss out on the blessing of receiving and flowing in God’s love. It’s heart-breaking.
      Katie Bennett recently posted…A Better Hope for Mothers When Life Feels HardMy Profile

  11. Fritha
    April 29, 2016 at 12:08 AM (1 year ago)

    I must confess I was blown away with your article!!! I am a stay at home mom that homeschools. I have always felt a little guilty that I get to do this. I feel so blessed!!! I wouldn’t have thought someone would think it to be bad!!! I always share it like its the best thing since apple pie!!! People were always happy for me I thought!!! Perhaps it was just the way I went about it. Your blog was fascinating to me though. Thanks

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      April 29, 2016 at 8:01 AM (1 year ago)

      Ha! I am glad you think it’s the best thing since apple pie, since I’m going to be jumping in to homeschool next year! I’m a little afraid it’ll be hard on me to do it all… but I believe God is calling me to this, so in I go! 🙂
      Katie Bennett recently posted…A Glimpse into Life Lately and What I’m Loving in AprilMy Profile

  12. Brianne
    April 28, 2016 at 12:57 PM (1 year ago)

    Thank you for your encouragement in laying down our lives for others in love! The first article as well as this follow up have really spoken to my heart!

    Reply
  13. VLB
    April 28, 2016 at 12:48 PM (1 year ago)

    I have to admit, it shocks me when I realize that we are living in a post Christian nation–but we are. It is so very different from the Fifties and Sixties when I grew up that it makes my head spin. Without belief and devotion to God, there is no good reason to put others before yourself. Regarding unbelievers, there is No Tolerance for believers – they are as you found, overtly hostile. They will never understand it- it is as the Bible says ” it is folly to those who are perishing”. So, I try to remind myself to pray for unbelievers, knowing that except for the Grace of God, go I. Persecution will never be easy, but it is here.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      April 29, 2016 at 7:59 AM (1 year ago)

      I am living a pretty sheltered life in this season. It’s not intentional, because I believe we must be in the world to share Christ with the world, but because I have little children at home, my main window to the world is church and my blog, which are filled with gracious, God-filled people. I think because of that, this response is very shocking to me too. It has been a good reminder to pray, as you said. It is only by God’s grace that we get to experience this abundant life! What an immeasurable blessing!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…One Little Change that Changed Everything (About How I Keep My Home)My Profile

  14. Dana
    April 28, 2016 at 12:26 PM (1 year ago)

    Thank you for sharing God’s truths through this venue. I am praying that God will use this method of sharing –even with those most critical.

    Reply
  15. Hilary
    April 28, 2016 at 11:28 AM (1 year ago)

    I’ve noticed – and been totally surprised – by the same kind of backlash to my blog post about picking up your home before your husband gets home at night.

    To me, why wouldn’t any wife want to treat her husband with kindness? Why wouldn’t she want to make his life easier? Why wouldn’t she choose to serve him – and the rest of her family – out of love?

    But then I’m reminded that our way of thinking is foreign to this world. It’s incredibly sad that selfishness is the norm, and not selflessness. But now’s a perfect opportunity for believers to keep serving others and be the salt and light that makes us radically different.
    Hilary recently posted…Hostess Horror Stories: What to Do When Your Entertaining Turns Into a DisasterMy Profile

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      April 29, 2016 at 7:54 AM (1 year ago)

      Amen! I love your blog’s message Hilary. The internal reward of the JOY of the Lord is incredible, not to mention the eternal reward! Real love is deeper than the world can comprehend apart from Christ. What a gift that He gives any of us an opportunity to come to Him and experience abundant life!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Shop ’til You Drop: Are You Consumed with Your Outward Appearance?My Profile

  16. Jennifer
    April 28, 2016 at 8:30 AM (1 year ago)

    What these people are missing is the fact that most of our husbands are also serving their families and sacrificing for them. In my case I feel like my husband has put aside just as many dreams and desires as I have to focus on building our family. They are also missing the kind of joy and contentment that can only come from serving. This lesson of contentment in service has been mine to learn this year.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      April 29, 2016 at 7:48 AM (1 year ago)

      I agree! That’s the most amazing thing about this paradigm of serving– husband and wife both serve each other if they are both seeking the Lord. When my husband is putting me first, and I’m putting him first, God pours out His love and joy in a measure that is inexplicable!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Shop ’til You Drop: Are You Consumed with Your Outward Appearance?My Profile

  17. Jess
    April 28, 2016 at 6:33 AM (1 year ago)

    Thank you so much for your encouragement, keep up the blogging. As an Aussie mum It’s so exciting to see that fellow Christian mums in America are keen to serve God and their families despite what society is telling us. Let’s stand strong together as Christian sisters! God bless!

    Reply
  18. Leah S
    April 28, 2016 at 6:31 AM (1 year ago)

    I love this, Katie! We truly are called to serve our families as Christ served others. And, we can’t let what others say turn us away from our beliefs.

    Reply

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