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“We don’t serve others to earn something from God. We serve others because we love God and we love them.”

Serving is a powerful antidote to many marriage issues. It builds unity as you work as a team, and provides perspective when you pour into others’ lives. It gives the opportunity to utilize your unique gifts and talents together. And most importantly, it allows you to follow Jesus’ example and model servant leadership in the way He perfectly lived it out.

Jesus demonstrated perfect servant leadership by laying down His life for us. He calls us to follow His example by meeting each other’s needs in humility and sacrifice. Serving together as a couple provides benefits like deepening intimacy, creating memories, teaching your values to your children, inspiring your marriage, and discovering greater purpose.

“Christians serve others because we love Jesus. It’s because of what he’s done for us-and we serve people and others because we love them.”

My husband and I can attest to the power of united service. Some of our sweetest times have come while serving in youth ministry, nonprofits, or helping family and friends in their seasons of need. Making service a shared activity builds unity, perspective and utilizes our complimentary gifts.

Serving is also a powerful antidote to common marriage troubles like distraction, fatigue, conflict or discontentment with roles. Focusing outward gets your gaze off what you lack and onto how you can pour into others’ lives. It revitalizes passion and gives fresh vision for how you were created to make a unique impact.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.” Philippians 2:3

As Ecclesiastes 4:9 states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” Imagine what needs in your community you and your spouse could meet together! What brokenness could you help heal?

Start by asking God to guide you and highlight areas He is calling you to invest in. Sign up to serve meals, build houses, provide job training, foster children, or utilize your artistic gifts. The opportunities are endless. Entering into humble service following in the footsteps of our Savior is incredibly empowering. Allow Jesus’ clear calling to influence how you and your spouse pass your days. Experience the blessings, inspiration and joy that serving together brings.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 

-Ralph Waldo Emerson



PODCAST

 

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Jennifer Smith (00:06):

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived. Well, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Aaron Smith (00:17):

Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your hosts of the Marriage After God Podcast, and today’s episode is brought to you by our faithful patron team who’ve chosen to help financially support this show monthly. So we just want to thank all of you who have supported and signed up. We just appreciate all the support. It helps get this podcast and our prayer emails into thousands and tens of thousands of married couples homes. And so if you’ve signed up and joined the Patron team, we just want to thank you. If you have not yet, we want to invite you to become a faithful patron partner and your financial support helps us keep our podcast, keep our emails going, and so we really appreciate that. And so if you want to join the patron team, just visit marriageaftergod.com forward slash patron and fill out the form and join the team.

Jennifer Smith (01:05):

Well, it kind of feels weird being back to a little bit of normal because we just finished an eight part series and so I got in this rhythm of

Aaron Smith (01:14):

What

Jennifer Smith (01:15):

The series was going to be, but

Aaron Smith (01:16):

I did like doing this, that eight part series.

Jennifer Smith (01:19):

I did like it. And if you listening, if you liked the series, would you just jump on Instagram if you have it, and go to Marriage After God and direct message us, dm us and let us know and let us know if we should continue with series, because if we are podcasting next year, we can throw in another series. And if you’re going to go that far, also give us some ideas on what types of things you would want us to talk about. If you have a series idea for us,

Aaron Smith (01:45):

Speaking of asking you to do things, also we’re

Jennifer Smith (01:48):

Not done yet.

Aaron Smith (01:49):

I want to ask if you would do us a favor if you haven’t done so already, and leave us a review today on the podcast, wherever you’re listening, give us a star rating and a review and that actually helps all the algorithms and all the things on the back end tell people that our podcast is worth listening to. So if you enjoy it, if you love it, would you leave us a star rating today and write us a review? We’d love to. And we also, we like reading those reviews, so encouraging on our podcasts.

Jennifer Smith (02:17):

Okay, you guys, tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. We usually launch our podcast episodes on Thursday, but with it being Thanksgiving, I told her let’s let do it the day before, give people a chance to listen because they’re going to be so busy tomorrow.

Aaron Smith (02:31):

Which can I ask? Who told 2023 that it could be done

Jennifer Smith (02:35):

So fast? So fast? I know it’s crazy.

Aaron Smith (02:37):

Thanksgiving,

Jennifer Smith (02:38):

It’s wild.

Aaron Smith (02:39):

I love thanksgiving,

Jennifer Smith (02:39):

By the way. I love food. So this is a holiday that so many of us look forward to for different reasons. For some it means family traveling to you. This is our case. My family’s coming out to visit for Thanksgiving and for others there might be excitement around traveling somewhere, going somewhere to see your family or see your friends. We’re

Aaron Smith (02:59):

Eating ham.

Jennifer Smith (03:00):

Oh, totally. Eating we’re

Aaron Smith (03:01):

My favorite. Yams with marshmallows.

Jennifer Smith (03:04):

But we also know that some families are experiencing pain during this time, or even disappointment. Maybe the plans that you had made didn’t work out the way that you had expected. Or maybe you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. We just wanted to say that we are all here for each other and whether you’re celebrating or having a more quiet holiday this season, we can all appreciate those who are close to us. And we just wanted to encourage you to remind those who you love, why you love them.

Aaron Smith (03:32):

That’s good. And while you’re thankful for them,

Jennifer Smith (03:36):

I just want to add this one note. It’s more of an encouragement to myself, but for all of us, be present with your family this holiday season going into Christmas too. Sometimes we can be on autopilot or have our phones in front of our faces, but remember to put ’em down and remember to just make that eye contact and really be present in each other’s spaces because we need that human contact.

Aaron Smith (04:00):

I know some families are getting, I dunno if everyone knows what a fair day bag is, but those lead line bags that keep signals from going in. Oh yeah. And they’re requiring family members to put their phones in the bag before they come into the house.

Jennifer Smith (04:12):

It’s probably a good idea though because think about how much more connection though there is.

Aaron Smith (04:17):

So today’s episode, we want to focus on this idea of serving with your spouse and serving with your family and doing something for other people.

Jennifer Smith (04:27):

We wanted to share an experience that we had with our family recently. Just talk a little bit about why it was a valuable experience for us. It

Aaron Smith (04:38):

Was a lot of fun.

Jennifer Smith (04:38):

It was a lot of fun. It was fun for us. It was fun for the kids. So I’ll kind of jump into that and then we’ll just go from there. So we do Adventure school, Fridays being homeschooled, we’re with each other a lot. And so this year we decided to start up a co-op of sorts where families can join us and the moms or dads can participate in leading an adventure or some type of learning every Friday. Well, it’s not always outdoors, but it can be. I’m assuming when the weather gets really bad, we might hit indoors a little bit, but we’ve done things like toward farms, we’ve gone on hikes. There’s some art days coming up. And so it’s just kind of like a wide range of whatever we can come up with. And some of the parents have skills themselves to offer the kids, and so they’re using that as a means

Aaron Smith (05:31):

To. You must have posted about this recently on Instagram, I noticed a handful of messages of families or mothers saying, what is adventure school? I want to know about this.

Jennifer Smith (05:39):

Yeah. Oh, I do share about it on my Instagram. So if you want to follow along, it’s Unveiled Wife and I do like to share just snippets of what we’re doing. I don’t post every time we do it, but I do post often

Aaron Smith (05:53):

One of the recent ones we just did, which is one of the few that I’ve been able to participate in. And you guys did it at night, which made it easier. And all the dads came, which was a lot of fun. And we borrowed a church and all the kids did a presentation of something. Some all have sang a song. She did the Star-Spangled Banner, which she did awesome at some. Did little presentations about some character or figure from the past. It was really cool. It was really cool seeing the kids present these things that they came up with what they wanted to do. Some of ’em had a hard time, some of ’em had an easy time, but it was so cool that they all did it. It was really cool. There’s

Jennifer Smith (06:32):

Another one in the spring coming up. I’m excited to see what the kids come up with.

Aaron Smith (06:35):

Yeah, these little adventure schools you’ve been doing have been really, really awesome. And I think the kids are loving.

Jennifer Smith (06:41):

I know. So what we wanted to share with you guys today was an experience that we had with one of the adventure school days that I had a desire to do was a community service project. And so I reached out to a local organization here in Central Oregon called Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. And it’s a Christian organization that they rescue horses, but it’s also a program for children where foster children come and spend time with the horses and they also

Aaron Smith (07:12):

Use the horses to help rescue the

Jennifer Smith (07:14):

Children. And they also share the gospel with them. And it’s just really cool. And when we were there, they showed this little promo video and they were even talking about Monday men. And there’s these volunteers of men who come who can do things with candy tools and they provide, yeah, they can build things. They build things and they do stuff on the property that helps make it so beautiful, which it really is beautiful. But I was really grateful that they let our team come. All of our kids, we have a really big group with different age ranges and they said, come on down. And so we all showed up and we got to ride on a wagon down to their garden. And

Aaron Smith (07:50):

Real quick, I just want to talk about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. It’s beautiful. It’s in Central Oregon and it’s built on an old cinder pit, but it doesn’t look like that anymore.

Jennifer Smith (07:59):

Oh no. It’s all curated.

Aaron Smith (08:00):

It’s curated and beautiful. And because volunteers like us have done stuff over the years

Jennifer Smith (08:06):

Showing up

Aaron Smith (08:07):

And there’s the horses and there’s the trails and then I just wanted to say it was all old ranchy, but so cute and beautiful. We went into the building in the beginning to kind get our debrief and they had a wood burning stove going and it smelled awesome. I just

Jennifer Smith (08:24):

Wood everywhere.

Aaron Smith (08:25):

It was really cool. Yeah,

Jennifer Smith (08:26):

It was really cool. So the task that they gave us for the day, which some of us were like, oh no, we didn’t know what we were going to do. Yeah, what are we going to do? They had us dig for potatoes and they had a massive garden with rows and rows and rows of it was just mounds of dirt and all what was the green part had kind of wilted and was dried up. And so we had to find the potatoes and you guys, I’m telling you, two hours worth of digging. It was a treasure hunt and the kids were so excited every time they found one, they’re measuring them up

Aaron Smith (09:01):

And everyone’s come and said, I want to go home. I’m done. They were like, they just wanted to dig in the

Jennifer Smith (09:06):

Ground. Their goal. Some of our kids had goals of finding the biggest potato, but it was really fun to be out there and it was kind of a cold day. And so there was some snotty nose kids with potato, not potato, with dirt.

Aaron Smith (09:20):

Dirt and

Jennifer Smith (09:21):

Smeared across their faces and it was all over us, but it was so much fun. And I took this picture when we were done as we were leaving Aaron, of you holding Edith on the back of one of the wagon kubota things and the way that you look in this picture that I was able to capture is so beautiful. I really like it. I know. Thank you. I should post it on Instagram. I like you a lot. You like me. I do like that you were there with me that you said yes and that you were able to, that was

Aaron Smith (09:48):

A really

Jennifer Smith (09:49):

Fun day to do that. So thank you for coming. And so with all of that shared, we just wanted to use our experience to share with you guys about the importance of serving together, serving as a couple, but also serving alongside your kids. This is a really important message and picture that we get to show them.

Aaron Smith (10:13):

Do you desire to pray more for your spouse? Do you desire to pray more with your spouse? We understand that you may not know where to start or maybe you feel uncomfortable praying or maybe you don’t know what to pray or maybe you simply want to add something more to your current prayer life. This is why we wrote the Marriage Gift 300 sixty-five prayers for our Marriage. We desire that it would be used as a daily reminder and catalyst for you and your spouse to grow a dynamic and consistent prayer life together. This book is a compilation of 300 sixty-five unique and powerful prayers that cover a range of diverse topics that every marriage deals with. You can read it alone or ideally you read it with your spouse. Also, we hope that the topics that are brought up in these prayers would become a starting point for deeper and more intimate conversations with your spouse and a desire to seek God on these matters together.

(10:59)
Visit themarriagegift.com today in order your copy and give your marriage the greatest gift, powerful and meaningful prayer. Visit themarriagegift.com today. They see us wanting to do things, not feeling forced, not feeling obligated, but like, Hey, we want to go do this. And one huge benefit I know right away from doing these sorts of things is it takes away the fear of stepping out and saying, oh, what are they going to say? Or What am I going to have to do or what? I just go and ask ’em if I can come help. Because when you meet those people, and most ministries are like this, those people that run that ministry, they’re passionate and loving and so kind. And so just stepping out of our comfort zones and going and do that shows our children, first of all, that we want to do it, that we can do it. We always tell our kids we do hard things, but it makes it that much easier to do it in the future. We’ve talked about this with prayer. The more we pray with our kids, our kids aren’t going to have a uncomfortable relationship with prayer. It’s going to be like, no, that’s kind of normal. It’s all we do. You practice it. Yeah. So serving and doing that and doing it with your kids creates that in them.

Jennifer Smith (12:13):

Good. So let’s talk about our history just for a minute, Aaron, because we’ve always loved to serve together and it’s kind of like how our relationship started.

Aaron Smith (12:21):

Well, it was part of the deal. It was like, I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’re going to do it together. We’re going to do it for God.

Jennifer Smith (12:26):

That’s true. That was part of your proposal. So this isn’t just to boast or anything, it’s just for you guys to get to know us a little bit and for us to reminisce because that’s always fun to do. So when we first met, we met at a Bible study and you very early on recruited me to serve with you at another church for their youth group. It’s

Aaron Smith (12:46):

True.

Jennifer Smith (12:47):

And that was super fun. We did all kinds of games with them, all nighters we

Aaron Smith (12:51):

Did. That was fun.

Jennifer Smith (12:53):

Years worth of, yeah, we did that. Spending time with the youth. Another thing that we did was we served a camp up in Washington. It had ties to the church that we were serving the youth group in and you had been going every summer.

Aaron Smith (13:04):

Youth pastor that was my mentor, also hosted a camp up in Washington every year. It was a summer camp and I started going up there with ’em every year. And then when I met you and also a bunch of other friends that I recruited to be youth group leaders, we started going to do that also.

Jennifer Smith (13:21):

Yeah, that was super fun.

Aaron Smith (13:22):

I missed that. Camp Shiloh. Yeah, that

Jennifer Smith (13:24):

Is what it was called. That was awesome. I wonder if we have any Camp Shiloh listeners. That’d be crazy.

Aaron Smith (13:28):

We probably do actually.

Jennifer Smith (13:29):

It’s kind of weird because on Facebook you see all these people who once were small, grown up and having families of their own adults married, but we do miss all those people up in Washington. We should go visit them soon. That

Aaron Smith (13:40):

Was a lot

Jennifer Smith (13:40):

Of fun. So we also, we served in Bible study together. That bible study that I met you at kind of turned into its own little home church and we all had roles. We all had roles or you could volunteer for different things. We served in Africa together after we got married and with that missions organization, it was stationed in Florida, we moved there to serve them.

Aaron Smith (14:08):

We worked for them. Did you do finances and stuff with them? Yeah,

Jennifer Smith (14:11):

The only time in my life that I said yes to reconciling books and not my jam, but okay, so after getting married, we’ve served each other ever since then and we still do for the most

Aaron Smith (14:24):

Part. For the most part we serve each other.

Jennifer Smith (14:27):

So then there was a break in our serving because if you know our story, we were kind of falling apart. Our marriage was falling apart early on. This was early in marriage and it lasted a few years and I would say during that time was probably the hardest time for us to even see outside of ourselves,

Aaron Smith (14:44):

Least consistent in church, least consistent in doing anything outside of just jobs. And

Jennifer Smith (14:51):

You were pursuing work in your own things. I was pursuing work in my own things and it was just because our eyes were on ourselves and we were going through a really painful time in our marriage, and so there was no hope or joy or encouragement to give others because we didn’t know that yet. We didn’t know what that looked like. We needed

Aaron Smith (15:09):

To be served. We needed someone ministered us

Jennifer Smith (15:13):

And we actually received that in about our fourth year of marriage, we started to this marriage ministry and we definitely received that. And so I’ll give a shout out to them too. It’s called Fuse. All the people that were a part of that ministered to our lives and encouraged us and showed us how maintaining our marriage and centering it upon God is the bedrock and foundation of a strong marriage.

Aaron Smith (15:38):

Speaking of that kind of season and earlier I wanted to, can I mention a text message I just got? Yeah, go for it. From a friend. I’m not going to mention who, but it was really encouraging because in this idea of serving, the idea is not just to look, I did all this good stuff. It’s that your life is being used, that you’re allowing God to speak through. You move through that. You’re not just, you’re like, okay, God, you’ve given me so much. Use me for what you’re doing. And this is a friend of mine from a long time ago and he just texted me out of nowhere and he said, Hey, Aaron just wanted to send a message to you saying, I’m thankful for the role you had in my salvation. I was showing my daughter pictures of you and your family. You’re a richly blessed person that has blessed so many others.

(16:27)
Love you brother. Hope everything is well. And this was like twenty-one years ago that That’s cool. This relationship was where he’s talking about, and you don’t ever know the kind of impact you’re going to have on someone’s life if you just go and serve them and love them and speak to them and encouragement with the word of God and let ’em know what the gospel is. And what’s awesome is this gentleman and his wife now serve in their marriage ministry so cool in their church, and they said that how they just love loving couples and pointing them to Jesus and encouraging them to walk faithfully and humbly before their God. So you never

Jennifer Smith (17:07):

Know what can I’m telling you when you step outside of yourself to serve, it does spark something in other people that they go, oh, I can do that too. A really good thing for the believer to see and to

Aaron Smith (17:19):

Experience, and I don’t want to take credit for his salvation. All I can say is I was just walking with God and encouraging a brother in his faith and sharing who God is and that’s what we do. We say yes to God and we allow him to use us.

Jennifer Smith (17:38):

So going back to a little bit of our history, once we got over that hump early in our marriage and we experienced others kind of serving and encouraging our marriage, we served in that very marriage ministry for a few years and we ended up going with the church to Nicaragua. We did a little missions trip with them and that was together before we had kids. That was super fun. And so along the way, we’ve served in any capacity that we had the opportunity to say yes to helping others move, helping others with babysitting, essentially

Aaron Smith (18:10):

Cleaning our skills and resources and

Jennifer Smith (18:12):

Time using whatever we had if someone was sick, being able to serve them with bringing over a meal.

Aaron Smith (18:17):

It’s just been really a huge blessing to us to be able to be in people’s spaces and to be a part of people’s lives and to love on them.

Jennifer Smith (18:27):

I have this memory of when our kids were still really little and we wanted to incorporate them in serving others and we showed up, I think it was in the fall. It was either the fall or the spring, but we showed up to a friend’s house with gloves and shovels and a garbage bag and we were like, Hey, can we just clean out your garden bed for you? And we went around the whole exterior of their home with all their gardens and they had a really nice garden, beautiful flowers. But we got to show the kids even then at a young age, we can do this for other people just because

Aaron Smith (18:59):

There’s

Jennifer Smith (19:00):

No reward other than we want to bless them. Which

Aaron Smith (19:02):

Reminds me of when I was a youth leader at my church. One of the things that my mentor, our youth pastor had us do with all the kids was this thing he called risk random incidents of census kindness. And we’d find something in the community to do and we’d all go together as a youth group and go do it. I was thinking of the gardening thing. There was an old folks’ home right around the corner from my house and we went and did gardening. We cleaned up their garden, but it made it look really pretty. Spend some time with

Jennifer Smith (19:31):

Them. Remember, it’s a really memorable thing to do something outside of the box and outside of yourself. And it’s a gift. It’s a gift that you give to others, but it’s also a gift to your marriage when you serve in any capacity with your spouse. And it’s a gift to your kids because not only are you forming memories, I have this memory with my family. I was probably 13 and there was this family camp up in the hills in California, and you could go at a discounted rate if your family came that specific weekend and served the camp. Oh, I like that. What we did our job, they broke it down by last name. Our family had to take out all the chairs in all the different facilities and wash them. Oh wow. I have this memory of washing probably thousands of chairs over the course of a day and a half. Crazy. But it was fun. And I don’t remember anything else we did that weekend, but I do remember making that memory with my family and being encouraged by it that our family is the kind of family that helps others and does things for free and for the gift of joy and blessing,

Aaron Smith (20:37):

Let’s normalize

Jennifer Smith (20:39):

It. I like that. Okay, so that’s a bit of aaron and I serving. Do you want to share anything more about your heart behind why we serve? Well,

Aaron Smith (20:50):

I think just in general, when you think about how much God has given us that he’s given us everything, that in itself makes it easier to give and to do. You’re not doing it to earn anything from God. Again, we’ve talked about this over and over, that’s not how the gospel works. We can’t earn anything. We do it because of the gospel,

Jennifer Smith (21:14):

But we can’t do it because it pleases him.

Aaron Smith (21:16):

It definitely pleases him. I agree with that.

Jennifer Smith (21:19):

Okay. So one of the things that I wanted to go over today, we wanted to go over today were the benefits. Benefits for you as a couple and benefits for you as a whole family unit serving together. And so let’s just tackle some of these. What does it do for a marriage?

Aaron Smith (21:35):

So benefits of serving together in your marriage is it builds unity. That’s you doing this together, you’re on the same page together. You’re doing something for God together. It builds unity in a major way.

Jennifer Smith (21:50):

It provides the opportunity to learn and practice good communication, being inconvenienced a part of it. Sometimes making plans, sticking to commitments. These are all really good unity building things.

Aaron Smith (22:06):

It also makes other issues seem small, especially if you go,

Jennifer Smith (22:13):

It gives you perspective. Yeah,

Aaron Smith (22:14):

It gives you perspective. You’re not going to always be helping someone that’s quote-unquote less fortunate. You could be helping your friend who’s totally just fine, but you want to go serve them and love them. But helping other people and giving of your time and your energy and your resources definitely puts other things in perspective. Things that we’re so concerned about, so worried about, but you’re like, oh, that’s not that big of a deal. This is a bigger deal.

Jennifer Smith (22:38):

It’s also a good distraction from those things. So there’s the gift of generosity, of giving of your time and effort, effort, all of it. And those are things that you and your spouse get to talk about and reminisce in and build each other and encourage each other up and is recognizing that you are sharing that gift with others.

Aaron Smith (23:01):

And I think it also reminds us of the purpose of our time, talents, and resources. It’s not just for ourselves. I always mention this, the fruit of a tree. And when we talk about good fruit, the fruit of a tree is not necessarily for the tree’s sake, it’s for others

Jennifer Smith (23:21):

That they would taste and see that the Lord is good.

Aaron Smith (23:23):

So the fruit of our lives, yes, we of course benefit from it, but it’s meant to benefit others.

Jennifer Smith (23:30):

I would also say that one of the benefits of serving others together helps us serve each other better. It’s just the more practice that you give to something, the better you are at that thing

Aaron Smith (23:40):

And takes our eyes off ourselves, which means we’re more prone to put our eyes on your spouse or others

Jennifer Smith (23:49):

Also. It’s the way that Christ walked. It was his example. He served others. He was a servant. He came to serve and that’s kingdom work. And so one thing that I’ve really loved about serving others, Aaron with you, is that I know that there’s purpose in it, that we are contributing to the kingdom together.

Aaron Smith (24:11):

I also want to mention that there’s benefits to serving that are totally okay, but I feel like we sometimes feel guilty for having the enjoyment of the thing you’re doing. We had a lot of fun picking potatoes,

Jennifer Smith (24:26):

Especially because this last year we didn’t do a garden. So

Aaron Smith (24:30):

I know it made me miss gardening and I was like, oh, we get the garden, but they also let us take potatoes home. That’s

Jennifer Smith (24:35):

True.

Aaron Smith (24:35):

And so some people might feel guilty like, no, no, no, this is just for you. We did it just, no. What’s wrong with benefiting from the work you’re doing? When we went to Africa. So while we were there, we got to see and experience some amazing things

Jennifer Smith (24:52):

Like seeing Victoria falls and

Aaron Smith (24:54):

Just sitting on a dock on a lake and watching the tropical fish underneath us and all the driving and all the, we got to have a lot of really awesome experiences while there that we benefit from personally. And so serving together as a couple, you get to benefit personally in a lot of ways. It feels good to serve.

Jennifer Smith (25:18):

Okay, so there’s also, I mean some of this is probably going to overlap, but there’s benefits for the whole family serving together too. We talked about unity and it unifies you as a family unit that you all, you’re a team. Yeah, you’re all participating to do something hard. We always tell our kids we do hard things. Well, if you go and serve and you do something hard together, you’re proving that statement to be true as a whole and everybody gets to communicate. It’s also a really good opportunity for when children are being raised, they come up against their flesh and well,

Aaron Smith (25:53):

It’s natural, naturally selfish. Like the world’s about me. What do I get? What am

Jennifer Smith (25:58):

I getting there? So serving others will provide an opportunity where you get to teach them and talk to them about what it means to give of yourself, to give of your time, to be uncomfortable, to be inconvenienced, all of that.

Aaron Smith (26:09):

That’s a big benefit to our children specifically. It shows them the power of what they’re capable of

Jennifer Smith (26:15):

What? So

Aaron Smith (26:16):

It expands their realm of like, wow, I didn’t even know I can do that. That’s so awesome.

Jennifer Smith (26:23):

And along those same lines, it’s inspiring because then maybe one of your kids will be encouraged to want to do something for someone and then they lead out in an invitation like, let’s go do this for this person.

Aaron Smith (26:36):

Speaking of that idea, them wanting to do it, you never know what career or passion might develop inside of your child. They might fall in love with that. Whatever it is that you go do that might become their future philanthropy or a business to support that thing. You never know. That’s really good. What’s going to be sparked inside of them

Jennifer Smith (27:04):

In Marriage after God, we wrote that book to encourage couples to recognize their purpose as a couple to how they can serve God together.

Aaron Smith (27:13):

So go get a copy of marriage

Jennifer Smith (27:14):

After God. No, but what you’re saying is really cool because it trickles down even to the children, this idea that one day they’re going to take their experiences and add it to their spouses and say, okay, now that we have these experiences and this know-how, what can we do to serve God together? And they’re going to pull from this memory bank. So this is really good

Aaron Smith (27:33):

And it’s so important to remind our children when we’re serving that we don’t serve to earn something from God

Jennifer Smith (27:41):

Or even from other people

Aaron Smith (27:42):

Or from other people. The two things we’re serving because of what God has given us because we love him and we’re serving others because we love them. So we’re not doing these things to earn check marks with God or to put ourselves in a certain light with other people. Actually, the Bible actually talks about that our motives and how we do things matters. And so we want to remind them that serving, it’s what Christians do because we love Jesus. It’s because of what he’s done for us and then we serve people and others is because we love them.

Jennifer Smith (28:17):

Christ is our example and our motivation for why we serve. So let’s look at some scripture to see what our template is. Okay,

Aaron Smith (28:27):

Can I start with the first one? Yeah, go ahead. Cool. Mark 10 45 for even the son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. It’s really good because this is the ultimate example. Jesus be like Jesus, what would Jesus do? And Jesus himself though, God came to serve men even right before he died instead of we were, you were just talking about this to Elliot or someone in the car, they were fighting over a seat or something and we were like, Jesus. When he sat at the table, excuse me, when he sat at the table with his disciples, he didn’t pick the best seat on the conjurer. He actually wrapped his cloak around his waist and became a servant in that moment and washed their feet. So he is the ultimate servant.

Jennifer Smith (29:14):

Well, and I love that in this verse, it pairs serving with, and then it says to give his life as a ransom for many. And so we need to remember that when we serve to give, there’s sacrifice involved. It’s not always convenient, it’s not always easy. It’s not always done in a place where you have a lot to give, whether it’s financially or time or whatever it is. And we need to remember that serving is paired or tied to this idea of sacrifice. And so if we can remember that, I think that’s where the joy of it comes from because you know that it’s not, like you said, you’re not doing it to get anything in return. It’s a different kind of investment. Would

Aaron Smith (29:56):

You say it’s okay for someone to serve when it is convenient? Of course this is just going to work out

Jennifer Smith (30:03):

Well, some people are gifted in the way that they give gifts or the way that they do hospitality. Or for some people it just comes a little bit easier to serve or have eyes to see what needs to be served

Aaron Smith (30:16):

More convenient for them.

Jennifer Smith (30:17):

It’s

Aaron Smith (30:18):

Easier where someone else might have a really hard struggle. How do I have people home or cook for someone or what do I

Jennifer Smith (30:24):

Do? Or even just season. Maybe you find in one season that it’s really easy to serve five different families at the same time and you’re just going, going, going. And then other seasons you pull back because you realize your capacity is a lot smaller for some reason. And that’s okay. That’s okay to recognize those things. But again, I just wanted to say I love that in this verse when it says that the son of man came not to be served but to serve. That’s in so many different ways. Jesus served in so many different ways, but I love that it also says, and to give his life

Aaron Smith (30:59):

So we can adopt that sing

Jennifer Smith (31:01):

Mentality

Aaron Smith (31:01):

And heart posture of, well, I am here to serve, not be served.

Jennifer Smith (31:06):

So the next one is Luke through twenty-seven. A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. Again, going back to, I think it’s so funny explaining to our children why we don’t fight over the best seed or the best food or the best anything. And he said to them, so this is Jesus talking to his disciples. The kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them and those in authority over them are called benefactors, but not so with you. Rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as the one who serves for who is the greater one who reclines at the table or one who serves. Is it not the one who reclines at the table, but I am among you as the one who serves. So again, I just love this picture.

Aaron Smith (31:50):

He’s pointing out where he should be, but where he is at instead,

Jennifer Smith (31:53):

But where he is at instead. And so he has the authority to be the one who doesn’t have to serve, who doesn’t have to do anything. And yet in that place of honor and position and power, he chooses to be the one that serves

Aaron Smith (32:08):

Well. And it’s also, it’s so, it’s God’s culture is like the world does it this way, but we’re going to do it this way. We’re not going to use the same system. We’re not going to use the same hierarchical mindset. Instead you lower yourself and that’s how you become greatest in the kingdom of heaven as you lower yourself. And Jesus was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. He became the lowest even to death on a cross.

Jennifer Smith (32:31):

And I feel like this passage really tackles those fleshly things that we wrestle with even today when it comes to expectations in relationships or

Aaron Smith (32:43):

Marriage.

Jennifer Smith (32:44):

Marriage. Yeah, for sure.

Aaron Smith (32:46):

Because I was thinking about this as we’ve been reading these. If we’re constantly in a place in our relationship with our spouse where we’re expecting and demanding them to serve us, that’s the wrong perspective. Now it’s okay to look forward to them serving you and desiring them to serve you, but if your perspective is no, they’re to serve me not the other way around, there’s going to be a lot of tension and strife there. And that actually is the opposite of the example that we’re talking about right now from Christ. But if both husband and wife operate in a way to lower themselves below their spouse and to lift their spouse up, what do you think will happen? Both husband and wife are going to be lifting each other up constantly and serving each other. And man, that is an amazing example to show to your kids

Jennifer Smith (33:34):

And it’s walking in humility. That was the other thing that I was trying to think of, but I had lost my train of thought, is just being able to remember that we’re choosing humility.

Aaron Smith (33:45):

So let’s go to the next verse is John 13, 12 through 17, when he had finished washing their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, do you understand what I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord and you are right for so I am. Then your Lord and teacher have washed your feet. You also ought to wash one another’s feet for I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, bless her or you if you do them.

Jennifer Smith (34:18):

I love the way that this ends with that call to pursue life and relationships and people the same way Christ did, and the same way that he loved them and honored them and did something as serving them with washing their feet before they ate

Aaron Smith (34:34):

Something I never noticed before in this is he compares, he says, do you not know that I’m your Lord and savior and teacher, and you’re right for saying so. He’s like, if I’m washing your feet, then you should do the same. Then he says, A servant is not greater than his master. So anytime we act in a way where we put ourselves above people, when we demand that others serve us, what we’re essentially saying is that we’re greater than Jesus. We’re essentially saying that we deserve something that Jesus himself who did deserve it, did not take but instead served. And he’s saying, he’s like, if you’re seeing your Lord and your teacher serve in this way, that’s good. You should always serve this way because you are not greater than me.

Jennifer Smith (35:21):

That’s really good. I also, I just love that it says blessed or blessed are you if you do them. Yeah. We got to remember, even though we’re serving not to receive anything, not to get anything back, we still are blessed in doing them.

Aaron Smith (35:34):

Yeah. What’s that verse? It’s more blessed to give than to receive. Yeah.

Jennifer Smith (35:38):

Jesus. He’s so good. I know. Alright, this last one is Philippians two, three through eight. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. So again, him just recognizing who he is, his identity, his power, his authority, and saying, but I’m a servant and he’s identifying himself as a servant.

Aaron Smith (36:24):

And he came, it says, in the form of God, he is God, but didn’t operate in this earth in a way to demand that perspective from people. And that’s something that we need to recognize how big that is, that if God himself would come down and lower himself in such a way, what does that mean for us? How often do we think

Jennifer Smith (36:49):

When it says he emptied himself? And that was a continual

Aaron Smith (36:52):

Thing. Yeah, he poured it out.

Jennifer Smith (36:53):

That was not just on the cross, although that was the ultimate sacrifice and serving that he could have done for us. But his whole ministry was him emptying out giving of himself for others.

Aaron Smith (37:07):

And something even more amazing is when I just thought about this, his equality with God, a thing to be grasped but emptied himself on the cross. He poured out his own righteousness so that we can actually have the righteousness of God. And that’s what Bible says. As he became a propitiation, he replaced our us with him. And so he actually emptied out his righteousness into us all who believe, which is pretty incredible to think about. And it makes me more convicted on why we don’t recognize that more that we have the righteousness of Christ dwelling in us, that we can actually serve on that level. Yeah,

Jennifer Smith (37:43):

I love it. It’s beautiful guys. I also want to point out that in this verse specifically it says that he took the form of a servant and then it goes on to say, being born in the likeness of men. And so when you think about, we’ve talked often on our podcast about that symbolism of the clay in the potter’s hands. But I like that it says the form of a servant here. And it’s like something to be molded into something, to be shaped into something that is beautiful an artifact. If you think about clay or pottery, something beautiful to behold. And I want to take that kind of form like Jesus did. And so I just want to point out that being a servant is one who recognizes what their purpose is being emptied out. You know what that means? You understand and you go for it.

Aaron Smith (38:34):

And it might seem like, well, it’s easy for Jesus, he was God. But it says right here it says He humbled himself so he had flesh like ours that desired to be recognized, that desired to be comfortable, that desired to be fed, that desire to be okay.

Jennifer Smith (38:49):

But there’s nothing easy about becoming obedient to the point of death. Not one person can say that that’s an easy thing to

Aaron Smith (38:55):

Do. He laid down. He had to actually choose to be humble, says he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. This is what we see in the garden of Gethsemane. He’s saying, Lord, is there another way but not my will be done. So it says that he learned obedience through the things that he suffered. So the word says about Jesus. So we are to do the same thing. It’s not going to come natural to us to want to serve and to want to be humble and to want to. We have to choose it, lay our lives down for others. And yeah, it’s got to be something that we actively do. Jesus humbled himself. Then we need to do the same thing.

Jennifer Smith (39:35):

We ourselves. When and when we do, we bless others and we are blessed. He says that we become a light in this world. And I’ve been talking to the kids a lot about this as a family unit. When we choose to operate in a way, in the way that we engage with one another and the things that we do, we become a light to others. And so when they ask us, well, why is your family like that? We can say it’s the testimony of Christ in our life. And so in every opportunity that we have to serve someone else in this world, we’re sharing that light with them. We’re sharing the light of the gospel with them. Love that. I also want to share that a little shout out, there’s a homeschool company called Not Consumed, a mom who is really passionate about sharing resources with people. And I just bought a Bible study pack from Not Consumed all about relationships and they have these little booklets and one of them is about serving others and becoming a servant. And so I’m really excited to go through the kids with it starting in the new year.

Aaron Smith (40:35):

That’s going to be good

Jennifer Smith (40:36):

If you’re interested. Check that out. It’s not consumed.

Aaron Smith (40:39):

So to close this out, we just want to reiterate that serving now, I want to say shouldn’t feel like a chore, but it is something that’s going to cause sacrifice. It’s going to be something that you’re going to have to go out of your way for it. It’s going to be something you have to plan.

Jennifer Smith (40:55):

And it’s one of those things that sometimes you choose to walk in something and your heart follows later after the fact. You realize that is true. Oh, that’s the purpose. That’s why I did it. It’s like your eyes are open to it. And so sometimes it’s just a matter of being obedient to the call and obedient to the opportunity that God provides to say yes

Aaron Smith (41:11):

And having a heart of prayer saying, Lord, open my eyes to the opportunities that you bring to me, the people that you bring to me and help show me how I can serve them.

Jennifer Smith (41:24):

And most definitely your spouse, because this is a marriage podcast, we need to remind each other that our eyes should be open to one another and how we can serve each other daily, whether that’s a small thing or maybe it’s a little bit more extravagant because you just have this wild idea of how to serve your spouse. But there are things that we could be doing daily to serve one another.

Aaron Smith (41:42):

As we mentioned in marriage after God, one of our main themes throughout that book is when you practice your ministry at home with your spouse and your children, then doing that ministry outside your home becomes much more natural.

Jennifer Smith (41:55):

For sure. The yes becomes easier too. So for those listening, what are five ways that they can serve their spouse either today or this week? That would be super easy.

Aaron Smith (42:05):

Keeping an eye out for something that would be a blessing to them, like a treat or a gift, a coffee or time alone if they want it or time with you,

Jennifer Smith (42:15):

Awesome. I’m going to go straight for the spiritual one and say, wash their feet. I was able to do this with you one time, and it was during a season of our time of our marriage that was that need of healing and hope, and it was really a powerful experience. I have this other friend who they chose to do it on their wedding day. Some people will light a candle or do some sort of unity, something, they wash each other’s feet and it was so beautiful.

Aaron Smith (42:40):

Another one would be, and this is like physical touch, find a way to give them a foot massage, a back massage, a head massage, a tickle rub. Something that’s going to just be like, Hey, I love you and I want to bring you some joy right now.

Jennifer Smith (42:53):

Deal and then deal. You do one more and I’ll do one more.

Aaron Smith (42:59):

What’s another way?

Jennifer Smith (43:01):

Okay, I’ll say what you did for me yesterday. Okay. Okay. So I dislocated a toe in jujitsu earlier last week and getting ready for thanksgiving. We have family coming out and I had a work day yesterday and I was gone and aaron mopped the floor for me. Oh yeah, because walking around on it kind of hurts right now. So thank you for

Aaron Smith (43:19):

That. I also cleaned the stove the other day, which I haven’t done in a while.

Jennifer Smith (43:21):

Thank you for doing that. So these are just little things that really bless your spouse, especially if they’re in a state where they can’t do the normal. And then the last one we’ll end with is just prayer. Not just prayer. Prayer is probably the most important and easy thing to step into. Ask them, how can I pray for you? Ask them, how can I pray for you today? It could even be a text. Hey, I want to pray for you. Give me three things that I can be praying over you for. So there we go. Love

Aaron Smith (43:45):

That. So the growth spurt for this month,

Jennifer Smith (43:48):

You might have to remind them what that is because we took a break when we were doing the series for eight weeks

Aaron Smith (43:53):

All year. We’ve been doing these growth spurts each month where we have a theme and it’s kind of like an action item, something on, it’s like a little

Jennifer Smith (43:58):

Challenge for you guys for the

Aaron Smith (44:00):

Month, and this one’s going to go through the end of the year. And the growth spurt is tis the season to be present.

Jennifer Smith (44:06):

I thought you were going to lead into that like the season

Aaron Smith (44:09):

To be present. To be present.

Jennifer Smith (44:11):

I heard it in my mind.

Aaron Smith (44:12):

Let’s be present because we have so many things, especially with technology these days that are taking our attention and they draw us and for whatever reason we’re drawn to them and the notification and the phone call and all the things, and they draw our eyes down.

Jennifer Smith (44:29):

So

Aaron Smith (44:30):

Let’s put our phones away. Let’s

Jennifer Smith (44:31):

Put our here. Serve your spouse this week by hiding their phone for a little bit. There you go. Just kidding. You’ll freak ’em out. Yeah,

Aaron Smith (44:37):

Leave your phone in the other room. This is just a good practice. Leave it in the other room.

Jennifer Smith (44:41):

And it’s not just about your phone, it’s about being present in any capacity that you can in the moment with your spouse.

Aaron Smith (44:47):

So if it’s coming to cooking big meals, be present in that. Don’t let it be something that’s a chore again, but have it be something that’s joyful and fun, like, oh, we’re doing this as a family together. Be present. Good.

Jennifer Smith (45:01):

Okay. We hope that you guys have an amazing thanksgiving tomorrow with your family and friends or today if you’re celebrating today or this weekend, if you’re celebrating this weekend. But we hope that it’s a really full of joy and hopeful time together. We’re going to end this episode with a prayer, so please join us. Dear Lord, thank you for the reminder that serving others is important. We pray we would never neglect or lose sight of serving each other in marriage. We also pray we would be quick to offer help to others as we serve others together. We pray we would be unified. Lord, help us to have eyes, to see where we can serve others. We pray we would be willing to serve even if it’s difficult or hard or inconvenient. We pray you would inspire us this next season to go out of our way to serve each other with joy We pray. Serving together makes our marriage even stronger in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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