Submission to Family

Written By Andrew Jones

U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven gave what is now a viral commencement speech at the 2014 graduation ceremony for the University of Texas at Austin. His opening line said it all: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Now there’s an idea!  

Jesus said something similar in His teaching in Luke 16:10: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.”

Until we can do the small and private things well, how can we tackle the big and public problems in life? 

This principle explains why much of the Bible’s teaching on submission, our focused discipline this season, begins with the family, in the home: wives, husbands, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. If you remember, we defined submission this way: to honor or serve another person, especially in a way that requires self-denial. So the point becomes clear: if we cannot honor and serve our own family, what hope do we have of honoring our boss? Our church family? Our neighbor? God Himself?

If we cannot honor and serve our own family, what hope do we have of honoring our boss? Our church family? Our neighbor? God Himself? 

So we begin with family. For many, this means your biological and nuclear family, but for others this may apply more directly to friends and roommates, who have become an adopted family of sorts. These are the proximate but often private relationships where submission is the hardest, where the rubber meets the road. But I don’t want to do the dishes now! I asked her to clean that up days ago, so now I’m justified in my anger and exasperation! I’m going to help, but I don’t want to, and I’m going to make sure you know it<

All of these attitudes reflect a lack of submission, that is, the ability to honor and serve one another, especially when it means the denial of self in the form of tangible service, patience, gratitude, and sincerity. 

So let’s focus on submission among the family. Parents, where do you tend to become impatient with children, provoking them to unnecessary anger? How can you model another way this week? Children, are you obeying your parents with a grateful heart or a begrudging one? Siblings and friends, what chore or house project can you take on even if it isn’t your turn as a way to deny yourself and serve another? 

Let’s learn to submit to those with whom we are closest. Because if you want to change the world, you have to start with making your own bed.


Week 6 of 8 Submission


  1. Patricia Kleweno

    I love this making your bed speech by the admiral. When I taught school I always told the kids about that. In fact I read it to them. Smart man. The thing of it is it is so true.

    • Andrew Jones

      Yes! Such a powerful illustration. But, like all good ideas, he stole it from Jesus 😉

      • Mary Pruitt

        “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”- Oscar Wilde. And even though Oscar Wilde might not be the perfect role model, as Pastor Tom has often said, “Everyone gets part of the story right.” Or did Pastor Tom borrow that from someone else?

        • Andrew Jones

          Wait now I’m confused…


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