Focus on the Family

Serving With the Right Attitude

Serving your spouse should be considered an opportunity and conducted with joy. Jesus was the perfect example of serving with the right attitude.

by Matthew J. White

Imagine you're sitting down to watch the debut of a new sitcom called "Married to Jesus." (Roll with me for a minute, here.) You're excited because it's been the talk of all the entertainment news shows for weeks. There has been a ton of build up, but the details of the show have managed to be kept hidden. What you do know is that it's not about Jesus of Nazareth, but a modern-day guy named Jesus who lives in the suburbs of Cincinnati with his wife and four children. The story line is basically this: What if all the characteristics of Jesus Christ were present in a family man from Cincinnati?

The opening scene goes something like this:

(It's the middle of the night; Jesus and his wife, Sally, are sleeping. You get a glimpse of the clock that reads 3:14 AM.)

"Mom! Mom!" A scared 3-year-old calls from down the hall. "Mom! The monsters are getting me!"

Mom jumps up at the sound, but Jesus is already halfway out of the room and down the hall. He takes a few minutes to comfort their youngest son, gets him some water and then settles him back in for the night. Jesus returns to the bedroom to a groggy, "Thank you" from Sally.

(Camera fades; opens to a shot looking out the kitchen window to a cold, rainy Cincinnati morning.)

"Honey, I completely forgot!" exclaims Sally. "I need you to pick up the kids after school; get John to indoor soccer, Susan to band practice and Charlie to Sam's house, and grab the little one from daycare. I am so sorry I didn't tell you that I had a conference downtown this afternoon."

"I'll have to move a few things around, but that shouldn't be a problem," responds Jesus. They finish the morning routine, get everyone out to school and get themselves to work.

(Following a commercial break, you find Jesus at work; he's a carpet salesman at the big carpet chain in town. As the camera pans down to Jesus' desk, it passes the clock showing the time as 2:53 PM.)

"Bob, I can't believe what you're telling me," Jesus says over the phone. "They want how much carpet, and how soon?" You notice Jesus glancing at the clock as he continues his conversation. "Okay. Let me get this straight: They need 30,000 square feet of carpet – installed – by this Friday? And they are willing to pay whatever it takes to make this happen? Am I hearing this correctly? And, they want me to be out there this afternoon to close the deal?"

Jesus looks up at the clock again, but not in a nervous or stressful manner. He seems very aware of the time and the dire circumstances. "Bob," Jesus begins again. "This sounds like a great opportunity, but I made a commitment to my wife that I would pick up the kids this afternoon. I have to leave here in just a few minutes to get to the school on time. I know we can get this done, even if we wait until tomorrow morning to sign all the paperwork. Can you let them know this, and please apologize for the inconvenience?" You can hear Bob shouting on the other end, obviously furious at Jesus' response. "Bob, I promise I'll take care of everything. I will personally call the customer on my way to get the kids to ensure he understands that we will make this happen by Friday."

Are you getting the picture here? It may not compare to the Seinfeld classics, comically speaking, but you'd get the sense that this Jesus guy is alright. As the debut continues, and in episode after episode, you see that in every situation, Jesus is more than willing to help out around the house. He gladly plays with the kids when Sally has to take care of some errands. He skips the game with the guys to paint the bathroom. And, he never considers not doing these things an option. He enjoys serving his wife every chance he gets.

And this is where it hits us! I can honestly say that I see myself doing many of these things. I help around the house. I help out with the kids. I take care of the yard work. I bring Anne coffee in the mornings. I join in the vacuuming and wiping down the floors. But, when it comes down to it, do I really do it with a joyful attitude? Do I look at it as an opportunity to show Anne a little bit of Jesus in me? Or do I grunt a little under my breath as I empty the dishwasher for the seventeenth time in three days!

One of the books I most enjoy is The Life You've Always Wanted, by John Ortberg. Through his book, I was given a revelation about Jesus and His life of serving that I had never considered. Ortberg says, "When Jesus came as a servant, he was not disguising who God is. He was revealing who God is."1

What an awesome statement! Jesus didn't come as a child and a carpenter's son and live a life of serving to hide the fact the He was the son of God. He showed Himself in this way so that He could reveal the true nature of God.

In order to become more like Christ, we must not consider ourselves above anyone, especially our spouse. Instead, the opposite is true. We should be searching for ways to serve our spouse. Every day presents us with opportunities to serve. Seek those out and serve with joy!


1Ortberg, John. The Life You've Always Wanted. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997, 2002.