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Foot Washing

And they came to Caper′na-um; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:33-35

Husbands, you are called to be the servant-leaders of your homes. The man is the head of the home but just as Christ came not to be served but to serve, the husband is called to serve his family, sacrificing his own needs and desires for the good of his family.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33

Christ is the model of how husbands are to love their wives. Christ gave up His life for the good of the church; husbands are called to sacrifice their lives for the good of their wives and family. When a man fulfills his God-given role as husband and father, he will be irresistible in the eyes of his wife. No force of evil will be able to keep husbands and wives apart when the man fulfills his role as the servant-leader of his family.

Therefore be careful to do the words of this covenant, that you may prosper in all that you do. Deuteronomy 29:9

In practical terms, what does it mean to be the “servant-leader” of the home? First, you need to be praying with and for your wife and children. Even if you are separated from your family, seize every opportunity to pray at least with your children. Let your wife know that you are praying for her, too.

Second, to be a servant-leader, you need to be available for your wife or children at a moment’s notice. Depending on your situation, this may mean giving up a night out with the guys so that you are available to help your children with their homework. Loving your family in a godly way involves sacrifice, giving up your own needs to satisfy those of your family.

When I (Dennis) was separated from my late wife, I found ways to help her with chores around the house and even balanced her checkbook on a regular basis. I was often told by well-meaning Christian friends that I was being used by my wife. My response was, “You are right. I am being used. I am being used by God to be a blessing to my wife and family.” When you serve your family as Christ served the church, you will reap far more than you sow.

Third, live out the Sacrament of Matrimony. A sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible reality. The visible sign of the Sacrament of Matrimony is the couple. The invisible reality is Jesus. The husband and wife need to be the visible sign of Jesus to each other. Then, together as a couple, you are to be a visible sign of Jesus to your children. Finally, your family needs to be a visible sign of Jesus to others – your extended family, neighbors, the community in which you live, and the whole world.

You cannot ask for a more noble task, or a more impossible one! Thankfully, the sacraments are a source of grace. When you were married, you received grace to be Jesus to each other. Grace is power. To activate grace, it takes faith. When you feel you can no longer be Jesus to your spouse or children, just say, “Lord, I can’t do this. I CAN’T DO THIS! But I know that I am not alone. You are with me. Please give me the grace I need in this situation.” Jesus will never fail to give you what you need. All you need to do is ask.

The following song describes the essence of servanthood. May God give you a servant’s heart for your spouse and family!

Music and text by Richard Gilliard[1]

Will you let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey;
We are trav’lers on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
‘Til we’ve seen this journey through.

Will you let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

This song means a lot to us. It sums up our approach to our marriage. It was sung at our wedding. It stills brings tears to our eyes when we hear it. We pray that it blesses you as it has blessed us.

[1] © 1977, Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (admin. CapitalCMGPublishing.com)