Service Doesn’t Announce Itself

Yesterday I was talking with a friend about marital relationships and other such things, and he was telling me how he wanted to demonstrate his love for his wife through service. So, he decided to do a few small, but meaningful things for his wife every day, like making the bed. This went on for a while, and he was of course expecting his wife not merely to notice, but to commend him for this great and self-less act of service on her behalf. But she never said anything. So one night he said, “Honey, have you noticed that I’ve been making the bed every day?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Why didn’t you say anything then?” She said, “Do you ever say anything when I make it?” Her point, of course, was that such things are simply expected of her and she lovingly does them without reply, without response from anyone else.

His point in telling me this story was that service doesn’t announce itself. True service, done out of love should not be done expecting accolades and commendations from the recipient. It is quiet, it is humble, it is often unseen, unappreciated, unnoticed. This is true of much of what our wives do each day. They do so much without anyone ever noticing, but if she didn’t do it, it would be noticed!

As I was thinking about our conversation this morning, I couldn’t help but think of poor Martha, who was busy with much serving in the presence of the Lord. You can almost picture Martha doing her duty not quietly, not humbly, but loudly, so as to be heard and seen by Mary and Jesus. No doubt her demeanor as she was serving was crying out for attention: “Notice me! Notice me! See how I am serving!” But service, true service doesn’t announce itself. And certainly the underlying point of that story is that when Christ is present, it is better to be listening than doing. But I thought it was an interesting correlation.

It’s not unnatural for a husband to desire his wife’s respect and admiration. And, undoubtedly that will come when she sees you doing things selflessly and solely for the good of her and the family. Just don’t do it with the expectation of accolades. Service doesn’t announce itself.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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8 Responses to Service Doesn’t Announce Itself

  1. Fr. Gregory Hogg says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you.

  2. Dan @ Necessary Roughness says:

    You scored a field goal over at NR. I also had some other thoughts.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I find a link to this on Dan’s Necessary Roughness site. Very nice illustration. I swiped it for my blog and added a link to yours.

    Norman Teigen
    ELS layman

  4. Anonymous says:

    I found a link to this on Dan’s Necessary Roughness site. Very nice illustration. I swiped it for my blog and added a link to yours.

    Norman Teigen
    ELS layman

  5. Rev. Paul Beisel says:

    Wow–thanks for the accolades everyone 🙂 Seriously, I’m glad that it was helpful. I know that it struck me between the eyes, as I thought back to all the times when I thought I was doing my wife a favor, but was really doing it for a self-serving purpose. It’s a good lesson for all of us. I think Dan makes a good connection on his site about the church and her service. It doesn’t have to be showy, in fact, it shouldn’t be.

  6. The Common Sense Mom says:

    I agree, excellent post! And honey, thank you for making our bed this past week…I did notice.:)

  7. Rev. Eric J Brown says:

    Now if he did the DISHES too, THAT would be praise worthy. . . or was that not the point? =o)

  8. Dan @ Necessary Roughness says:


    When you use one site to get to the original site of comment, it’s generally accepted blog etiquette to give a “hat tip” on your blog article. 🙂

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