Biblical servant-leadership: that’s what we, as Christian husbands, must give our wives. So today, I want to provide some guidelines for understanding a biblical picture of faithful servanthood within the community of Israel.
- The faithful servants of Israel cared about those they served, and constantly sought new and better ways to serve them.
- Faithful servants developed new skills to better serve.
- Faithful servants did all they could to build the esteem and prestige of those they served; and this prestige, in turn, brought the servant prestige as well. He took great pride and honor in his role as a bondservant. And he, though perhaps wise in his own right, treated the thoughts and opinions of those he served as being as valuable as his own.
- Faithful servants preformed menial, thankless jobs in order to make room for those they served to exercise their gifts. The servant made allowances for the weaknesses of those he served as if they were his own. And in that way, he actively protected them from shame.
- A faithful servant didn’t dawdle in seeking forgiveness and reconciliation when his own sin caused any damage or shame to those he served.
Not a bad life, actually. Of course, to American men, this senario may seem a bit strange. You might ask, ‘Who’d ever surrender his freedoms to enter such a relationship?’ But, in fact, guys, you did’or at least you should have on the day you got married.
Did you know the Nobel Peace Prize is named after Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite? How did this come to be? It’s an interesting story. When Alfred’s brother Ludvig died, a newspaper mistook Ludvig for Alfred. As a result, the newspaper printed Alfred’s obituary, with a headline that read, ‘The Merchant of Death Is Dead.’ The obituary then proceeded to describe Alfred as a man who made his fortune helping people kill one another.
Alfred Nobel was cut to the heart. His legacy, as the obituary described it, was simply tragic. So he set himself to the task of changing it while he was still able. When Alfred really died eight years later, he left $9 million to fund awards for people whose work benefited humanity’thus, the birth of what we know as Nobel Peace Prizes.
Alfred Nobel was given a rare gift: the opportunity to read his own obituary, and make changes before it was too late. Men, perhaps it would be fruitful to spend a while imagining yourselves in his shoes. If your life ended today, how might those around you assess your contribution to your fellow man? Don’t concern yourself with the quantity of those contributions, for bigger is certainly not always better. Concentrate instead on their quality.
Unlike Alfred Nobel, none of us will probably ever read our own obituaries. However, all of us have the opportunity to live examined lives, and to make changes where changes need making.
Men, just like with you, your wife’s weaknesses will create impasses and threaten marital oneness. What will you do to bring oneness from such impasses? Demand that she straighten up and fly right? Surely there’s a more effective way to help her when she needs guidance. Why not lay down your ‘rights’ as the leader and graciously love her through these impasses?
Men, I want to present you with a challenge today: Stop evaluating your wife and resenting her because she doesn’t perfectly measure up to your standards. Instead, start accepting and appreciating her’and show her that in practical ways. When you demand that she change, or manipulate her into changing, you actually cause her to dig in her heels in order to defend her ground and the person she is. But when you accept her and love her no matter what, she drops her guard. She stops digging in her heels because she feels free to be the best she can be. Free to change. Free to be the wife you need.
So if your approach has been to crow like a rooster over every one of your wife’s imperfections, I suggest you eat some crow. Confess your unloving attitude to God and to her, and watch what happens. If she’s like 98 percent of all women, she will draw closer to you. And your relationship will continue to grow for as long as you appreciate and accept her’imperfections and all.