“So do you have family – husband and children?”
“No it’s just me.”
“Oh that’s good – you can serve God more that way…”
The last time someone said it, my buttons had been pushed one too many times and I responded with a little less grace than normal: “Well no, actually I expect that when I am married I will be able to serve God more. I pray that my husband will draw me even closer to God than I am now.”
I know what she meant. Sort of. She meant that because I was without the responsibility of family, I could fulfil my calling as an itinerant minister. But actually that’s not true either. !
It was perhaps a throwaway line and she meant nothing amiss by it. But language is important as it reflects our theology. So let’s get it right. !
Our ability to serve God is never, ever, limited by the status we find ourselves in. I can serve God as a single. I can serve God as a married woman. And I can serve God as a mother of little children scampering at my feet. I can serve God without the responsibility of a mortgage and I can serve God with a mortgage. I can serve God in whatever situation I find myself!
Serving God is not dependent on my social position. It is not equated with some arbitrary list of performance measures or the amount of volunteer time I can give in a day. It is a heart position.
The Corinthian church had this problem in thinking (one of their many problems!). They thought that to be ‘spiritual’ meant that they shouldn’t marry, so they began dissolving marriages and advocating celibacy. Others thought that they couldn’t serve God as a slave or as an uncircumcised Gentile. Paul’s advice to them was that; “Each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” (1 Corinthians 7:17). !
It’s not your social status that matters to God – it is the state of your heart in the midst of that station. Are we fully given to God’s purposes in the season we are in right now? Are we serving him unreservedly whatever he has called us to do?
For me right now, that looks like travelling and preaching, but to others it looks like wiping up the food spills of toddlers. God’s call for us is that whatever we do, we do it with all our hearts as if working for him and not for others (Colossians 3:23,24).