Monday, April 14, 2014

Should I Serve at my Church?

There are so many opportunities available to believers to do for others.  Many of those opportunities come from the local church.  You can serve in a nursery at most churches.  You can serve as a greeter or at a counter where resources are sold, or sing in the choir.  You can work at a coffee shop counter in the church.  You can serve behind-the-scenes to help set up the space before or during worship or you can help clean up afterward.  You can even serve in the community in which you live by going to retirement homes, pregnancy centers, or other locations.


Let's just look at that list for a moment.  All of those things take us out of our homes!  They call us away from our husbands and children.  Yes, they allow us to give of ourselves to others, but they are not callings you find in scripture.  But to be a helper to your husband, to be a keeper at home, and to teach and train your children ARE given to us by the inspired Word of God, right there in black-and-white. 


It is one thing to add something to my regular responsibilities, but another thing to let something take me away from the purpose for which I was created.  


Titus 2:4-5:  "Young women...be sober, love their husbands, love their children, 
be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, 
so that the word of God is not blasphemed."  
 

I realized about four years ago that if it wasn't on that list of priorities from God's Word, that I had to keep "it" from taking a higher position of priority than those things.  I could add it to my day, but if it took me away, it would have to go.  


Currently, I lead a ladies' small group one night each week at my home.  I always reserve the right at the beginning of each group's 12-week semester to cancel our meeting on any given night, without notice, if my husband or family needs me to not have group that night.  My husband supports me leading this group even when I talk to him about my concerns.  (Like this week, when I've been weighing whether or not I need to stop doing the group and focus on my home even more.) 


He has encouraged me to keep doing them, but still, some days, I feel like I need to check myself.  You see, there is also time spent preparing the house and preparing a snack or drink, as well as preparing myself for the group by reading and studying.  All of that takes some of my time each day.  I am constantly aware about what order in which I am creating my to-do list!


I have had a wonderful example in my own pastor's wife.  I have invited her nearly every semester that I've led a women's group to come and be a guest speaker.  We usually meet in the evening, and her response so far has always been no.  Now, some of you may think that a terrible thing--but rest assured, it is not.  I mean, sure, I want so badly for her to come share her heart with these ladies, and she knows I will keep asking her.  She tells me, "If my husband will be traveling, I can come, but if he will not be out of town on any of your meeting nights, I will be unable to do it." 


Every semester, she has given me the same reply.  And every semester, my respect for her, and my remembrance of my own priorities is more strongly secured.


A few years ago, I was also cautioned by another wise friend, when I auditioned and made the choir at my church.  She told me to be aware of how much time it called me away from home before I committed to it.  That choir was cancelled soon after my audition, and I consider that a blessing.


Young women, we do not need to stretch ourselves so thin by going after publicly serving others.  Yes, there are needs to be filled.  Yes, we are to serve.  But we are called, first and foremost, to serve in our homes.  It is our special and unique purpose.  Home is the domain in which we are to love and serve our husband and children.  Anyone and everyone else must take last place to God, family, and home. 


So many young women feel guilty for not serving in other capacities in this season, and we should not feel guilty about that!  We will feel shame if we leave our child "to himself" (Proverbs 29:15) and do not do what is needed to teach and train him up.  And I can tell you that I, personally, have felt a form of shame when I have been lazy or neglectful of the work of my home, or when I have neglected loving my husband and/or children in order to serve elsewhere.  The truth is that home is where God wants me to be and has called me to serve.


Let's learn to say no to the good, and even great, opportunities that are presented to us.  Instead, let's say yes only to God's BEST, His high calling for us as wife, mother, and keeper at home!

9 comments:

  1. This is so true and encouraging. I have had friends act like it is a sin because I refuse to teach or be overly involved with ministry work. But at this season of my life with children still under adult hood, I just don't feel I can sacrifice the precious time. Plus my husband never likes me to be overly committed as he feels he should be priority. As he should.

    Blessings,
    Amy Jo

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    1. Hi Amy Jo! Thank you for coming over to Far Above Rubies! And also for your comment! May you be blessed for your commitment to home and family! Your children will arise up and call you blessed, and your husband also! --Melissa :)

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  2. You have one amazing pastor's wife! She wants to be home and available to her husband in the evening. Evenings are a special time to unwind and relax from the day. I like my evenings free at home, since I go to bed so early and Ken likes {and needs} his down time. Great post and so needed to hear today by young women. I wish I would have heard it when I had four small children and a husband who traveled half of the year!

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    1. Thank you, Lori! I am so encouraged when others remind me of these truths! I only want to share what has encouraged me! Without a doubt, "a woman's place is in the home". --Melissa :)

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  3. How would you respond when they tell you you're putting your family above God, and making your family an idol? Is that ever a concern, or something we as women should be aware of? (I am not trying to be antagonistic, it is truly something I have dealt with and continue to struggle to find the right "balance".)

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    1. Hello Anonymous! While I do believe that a woman can idolize her family (which means to put them above the Lord), serving them and taking care of them is not idolizing them, since you are laying down yourself for what the Lord wants you to do. If others are telling you that, I would not respond at all. If you believe God Himself is telling you that, I would suggest being in some deep prayer and getting in the Word. God is a god of ORDER, not of balance. He created the world in a very specific order, and the processes of how the universe works and how our bodies function are not "in balance", but function in the proper "order". Titus 2 says "love your husband, love your children, be discreet, chaste, keeper at home, good, obedient to your own husband"....it doesn't also say "and serve in the nursery". :) I recommend having a conversation with your husband about it, and go with what he says! :)

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  4. Hi I'm Monica. This gave me some food for thought. I even talked to my husband, who is a pastor, about it. There are some things that came up and I would like to discuss them here. First, we aren't sure how we feel about your interpretation of the Titus verses. To us, keepers at home doesn't mean you can't leave if your husband is home (referring to your pastors wife). He thought that sounded like a husband who was not understanding and it made the relationship too one-sided. I could understand her not wanting to commit to every week, but twice a year seems completely acceptable. After all, Titus 2:3 says, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to..." this verse seems very important to this discussion. I think it is within the Biblical calling of a pastor's wife to minister to the young women in her church. I'm open to personal conviction, but I can't seem to wrap my head around refusing to minister to other women for one evening. In regards to your comment above "it doesn't also say serve in the nursery," my husband feels that there is danger in rules and beliefs made out of what the Bible doesn't say. For example, the Bible doesn't say to stop having children. But that doesn't mean we can conclude that everyone should have as many children as possible until they die. (Off subject, but it's something we talked about recently). Because that sort of interpretation could be taken to many extremes. He would explain this all so much better than I can! Know that this comes from someone who believes that women are called to be wives and mothers first. I felt that there were some important things missing, and that we need to be careful to not make our personal convictions into the standard for everybody.

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    1. Hi Monica, I appreciate your comment and questions. Please allow me to clarify a few things? First--my pastor's wife isn't refusing to come to minister because she cannot leave her house. She just considers her husband's needs a higher priority than coming to speak to a group. She also has children still at home, but that wasn't the point of this post, so I left out that detail, too. Her husband does not demand that she stay home--it is HER priority for herself.

      Second, you definitely don't have to convince me that we younger women need the older women to minister, but, again, that wasn't the point of THIS post. Don't worry, though, I have a post drafted that I'm still tweaking on this very subject. I am the biggest advocate for older women to be more active in teaching--really. It just wasn't the point here. :)

      Next, what I meant by "it doesn't say to serve in the nursery" was simply to say that God has not inspired in His Word that we are to do that. I would say that someone saying "you need to work in the nursery" would be making a rule. All I am doing is clarifying that there IS not rule stating such.

      And finally, this isn't a standard. In fact, I wrote this to relieve many woman FROM a standard that has been placed on them by others. That is what I have received from most of the comments and emails on this post. These ladies are breathing a sigh of relief to know that they don't HAVE to take time away from home and husband and children in order to do something that was created by men in the first place. (Off subject...what do you and your husband think about the idea of church nursery/youth group vs. family worship? REALLY random question! Hope you don't mind my asking!)

      Thanks again for your comment! :)

      Melissa

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    2. Monica again. Thanks for your response and clarifying a few things. To answer your question, we love the idea of family integrated church. We both grew up in a church with children's and youth Sunday school, Sunday service, and Wednesday activities. Families come to church and then go their separate ways. It's tricky really, because it's SO MUCH easier to go to service without your kiddos in tow, especially toddlers! We have an almost 2 year old and another due in May. We try to keep her in service with us as much as possible. Our church is small and doesn't have a nursery for babies right now. Up through first grade leaves part way through the service. We try to balance it without overwhelming the parents. Once a month we have a casual service and everyone stays together. Unless we are both involved in a part of the service or she is very grouchy/noisy, our daughter stays with us. I think it's important for families to be together in church and to equip the parents to be the primary teachers of their children.

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