Serving together in marriage is a blessing to God and those you minister to. And it also blesses the two of you as it helps you grow closer to each other. So where do you start? And how do you find ways to serve together?
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Last week I told you I wanted to share some examples of couples Sabra and I know who serve God together. I still want to do that–and will next week. But as I was studying for that teaching, God brought another passage to my attention that is very appropriate and important to this topic. It will help us further discover how God wants us to serve Him together in marriage.
Jesus’ Calling to Serve
In Acts 1:8, Jesus says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We often refer to this passage as “The Great Commission,” as Jesus is commissioning–calling–His followers to go everywhere and tell everyone about Him.
We are to serve Christ by serving others. Paul put it this way in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” This is the heart of one who serves–humble and caring.
In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul goes on to say that Jesus is our example for this: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross” (bold mine).
We are to follow Christ’s example and teaching by serving others.
Jesus’ directions in Acts 1:8 are typically used to explain how we should share the gospel message. But it is also a great word from God to direct our service for Him together as husband and wife.
When we as couples serve God together by serving others, we experience the blessing of God’s peace and contentment. We develop a deeper bond with Him and with one another that strengthens our marriage. It also brings glory to the Lord.
As it is not our natural tendency to be selfless and serve others, we can only do this with God’s help.
And God promises to give us this help: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). His work in our lives is essential if we are going to serve Him and the people around us.
Finding Ways to Serve Together
In the last part of this verse, Jesus gives clear instructions on how we serve under the leadership and empowerment of the Holy Spirit: “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
What does this teach us about serving God together by serving others?
It means we begin by looking for opportunities to serve the Lord together where He has placed us right now. Our “Jerusalem” can be the neighbors on our block who live right around us. Remember, those who heard these words from Jesus were in Jerusalem. So He was saying to them, start right now where you are.
Think about ways that you can work together to minister to your neighbors. Maybe you can take them some cookies or invite them over for coffee. Talk about how to meet them, get to know them, and build a relationship with them so you can discover their needs. Then pray together and discuss ways you can meet those needs with God’s help.
As you serve your neighbors together, you will show the love of God and be His useful instrument He brought you together to be.
Next Jesus says to move beyond “Jerusalem” and go to “Judea and Samaria.” These were the regions immediately around Jerusalem. A great place to begin here is to serve together in your church. Your church has many ways you can serve others. Not only can you serve within the walls of your church, but I’m sure your church has opportunities for you to serve the people in your community as well.
In addition to your church, there are also many other organizations through which you can serve God by serving others. See what other ministries your church supports and partners with, and find ways to get involved. Examples might be homeless shelters, pregnancy centers, food and clothing distribution centers, and other ministries in your area. They are always in need of help. Money is needed, of course. But time given by people to serve others is also usually needed even more.
Finally, Jesus says to go “to the ends of the earth.” For those listening to Jesus during His time, it meant to take His message to the entire Roman Empire and beyond. For us it means to take His love and message to people in every other part of the world. Maybe God is calling you to go as couple to serve Him in other parts of your country or the world. It might be that you go together on a mission trip. Or it might mean sponsoring others to go.
Serving God together does not necessarily mean you will move somewhere else or even go somewhere else. It means that you serve Him wherever you are right now. It means you are always ready to go wherever He might lead you. The key is to seek and follow Him…and serve Him and others. This is what brings Him joy. This is what honors Him. When we have this perspective, we will be fulfilling Christ’s “Great Commission.”
Questions for Discussion
- Read this week’s post together and discuss what God has taught you and might be leading you to do.
- What are you doing together in your neighborhood to serve others? What more could you do, or what could you begin doing? Pray about and discuss this together.
- How are you serving in your church? Is there any way you could serve in your church together? What areas do your spiritual gifts and God-given abilities point you to serve Him and others in your church? Pray together about this.
- Can you think of any ways you could serve God and others in your community? Where might you begin to discover these if you do not have any immediate ideas? Again, pray together about this, asking God to lead you to where He wants to use you.
- Pray about and discuss ways God may want you to serve Him and others together outside the immediate area of your home. Does God want you to go somewhere else in your state, country, or even to another country to serve Him? Does He want you to step outside your “comfort zone”?
- Close by praying to God that you are willing to go wherever He may lead (if you are), and ask Him to make clear to you both where that is, and how He wants you to serve Him together there. Remember the promise we have discussed often that you can count as you pray and agree together. It is found in Matthew 18:19-20: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Next week, we will conclude this study by providing the examples of a couple of couples that Sabra and I know who are living this out.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the SERVING GOD TOGETHER series:
Part 1–Made for Good Works
Part 2–Keeping Him First in Your Life
Part 3–Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Part 4–Learning from a Bible Couple
Part 6–An Inspiring Example
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.