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.
If you’re to use your time wisely, you must be considerate of your wife. Not in the sense that she has the final say, but rather, in the sense that you as a husband lead by serving. Return her love, and express yours, by surrendering personal autonomy for marital oneness. That’s your first commitment in marriage. As the old saying goes, wives spell love T-I-M-E.
As husbands, we usually don’t spell love this way, so impasses will likely occur. They can be overcome, but as a husband, you can’t make unilateral decisions regarding your time, or you’ll pay a dear price. And although men don’t naturally spell love T-I-M-E, you need to learn to do so if you expect to love your wife and kids properly. It requires a servant’s heart because it requires sacrifice.
My friend Fred is a morning person, so by 10:00 p.m. he’s practically ready for life support. Yet with four kids, this is precisely the time he and his wife Brenda are finally alone to talk. Fred knows that Brenda draws interpersonal intimacy from sharing conversation, so he’s made a rule that when he goes into the bedroom at night, he sits in a chair rather than lying on the bed. That way, he can stay awake and talk with Brenda if that’s what she desires.
In this small but important way, Fred’s learned to spell love T-I-M-E. It’s an act that honors Brenda’s vital need with the same care as he’d honor his own.
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.