When the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon was announced, my husband and I were one of the millions of Filipinos who rushed to the groceries for necessities to last us during this period. Though our bodies immediately sprung to action, our minds were disappointed and disoriented with how abruptly COVID-19 changed all that we prepared and planned for students, church members, and our personal lives in the coming months.
Working from home and having to do discipleship online is not something we thought would ever be the norm, and I’m pretty sure that we’re not the only ones who had or are having a hard time adjusting.
Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the chores being asked of you to do, and you’re having a hard time serving the people you live with. Maybe there are tensions building up around you, and you’re asking God to move in your home. Maybe you’re the only Christian in your household, and you’re being faced with the reality of having to share your faith with your family. These things are not easy. But God’s grace is available.
As leaders, it’s clear to us that we are called to serve and advance the kingdom of God, whatever it takes. We must strengthen the church in this trying time. But our calling to lead isn’t just in ministry. We are also called to lead and serve our families at home. That means that the same energy and fervor we put into ministry should be equal to what we give to our families. Our call to lead and serve is a form of worship to God. And the call isn’t just in terms of whatever it takes, but also wherever we are.
Each family is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution in leading and serving them. But we can learn from how Jesus embodied servant leadership in his close-knit community.
In John 13:1–5, Jesus exemplified what service is by washing His disciples’ feet. He “laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist,” showing us that service asks us to set aside time and energy to prepare us to serve better.
Then Jesus “poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” This is such a moving picture of pure humility and love—we don’t stop with the thought of serving, but carefully consider how we do it. Our attitude toward service counts. Jesus’ attitude toward service was His love in action for His disciples. Are we also serving with our time and energy, and in humility and love?
The passage also shows us that Jesus was fully aware and secure of who He is, so He did not mind doing a task that was, during His time, usually done by lowly servants. He loved His disciples so much that He initiated this extravagant act of service.
Even though we’re limited in this quarantine, we can lead and serve our families. If they aren’t followers of Jesus yet, let them see and experience His love in your smiles and conversation. Be ready to do chores, even though you won’t get recognized. Spend time with them and think of ways to keep your interactions fresh. Learn to overlook and forgive offenses, as Jesus forgives.
For some of us, this is the longest we’ve ever spent inside our houses and with our families. Maybe home is a place where you’ve experienced more pain than joy. In Psalm 139:3, we are assured that God is “intimately acquainted” with all our ways. He understands our deepest pains and is willing to give us the strength to overcome. Even then, He calls us to serve not by our will-power, but by His grace.
This pandemic may be highlighting all the imperfections in our world, but it’s also magnifying the grace and love of God. Let’s not miss out on what Jesus wants to teach us about loving and serving our families in this season. Jesus lived His life on earth showing compassion and obedience, and His life was without regrets because everything He did was out of love.
What is Jesus telling you to do for your family at this time? How can you lead and serve them generously this season? I pray that this season will teach all of us about what truly matters and that we will choose to walk in love, especially in our homes, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.