Tag Archive: serve


Robert is a friend that tbV and i met once in Americaland at a protest of sorts and have since become strong online friends and co-appreciators of Pearls Before Swine and other shared forms of humour as well as sharing in a hunger for following Jesus – he has been married to Heather for close to 18 years and while this is more of a story than a ‘one thing to learn’ piece, there is a lot in here to help us be better at loving our spouse…

Robert and Heather [a few years ago]

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor,without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:23-33 ESV

I’ll bet that most people who read the above passage and the other various passages probably know the verse that comes before this better than this passage. While they may come from various different positions, almost everyone can rattle off “Wives submit to your husbands” and know that it comes from this letter of Paul’s (it is also in Colossians 3:18 and 1 Peter 3:1 I’m not going to get into a discussion of those passages. Instead, however, I’d like to talk about the husband’s role. And, to be honest, while I could probably do a pretty decent job of discussing the biblical text and all that goes into it… I’m not. You see, probably more important than the way I interpret the words of Paul and explain them is how I live it out. So, let me tell you what I do as I try and figure out what it means to love my wife as Christ loved the church.

My wife’s body is not in the best of condition these days. Oh, don’t go there… I’m quite pleased with her appearance and such. She’s a gorgeous woman and I am constantly amazed that she married a geeky nerd like me. But folks who read my blog know that we are heading into the seventh month of a journey we never asked for, that of cancer and the treatments that go along with it. So, when I say my wife’s body is not in the best of condition, I mean that between surgeries, medicines, side-effects, etc., it’s a little bit broken right now and needs a bit of healing and fixing up. Because of that, she can’t do what she would normally be able to do as a wife, a homemaker, and a mother, three roles that she deeply loves to fulfill. As much as she wants to, she just can’t.

Now, I’m no paragon of masculinity with a well functioning body, buff and ripped with that fabulous Adonis-like form. I’ve got my issues and my problems. But, right now, I’ve got a lot more capability to do stuff than my wife so, in comparison, I’m doing pretty good. There are also things that are my roles in life that I deeply love. I love being a preacher, I love being a scholar, I love being that big strong Daddy to my little girls, I love doing the handyman thing around the house, and I love being a husband to my lady-love. These are the things I do. However, during this particular time in our “one-flesh” life, some of this I have to give up. As much as they are my strengths, as much as they are my heart passion, I can’t do the preacher thing as much any more. I can’t spend hours on end reading books and pontificating about the things I learn. There are all sorts of other little pleasures I have in life that I need to set aside. Why? Because I love my wife.

Let me give some examples.

My wife and I both love to cook. In fact, we “fight” over the kitchen sometimes because we love it so much. Usually it’s her anyways because I don’t get back from my commute until almost 6:30 at night. But these days, when she can’t cook a meal because she’s too tired or in too much pain, I put down my laptop case, throw off my coat, strap on an apron and head to the kitchen to cook.

We have two girls who cannot decide which of their two loving parents they want to have read bedtime story to them at night. So, my wife and I split the duty where we each get one kid every night and, the next night, we switch. That way, each girl gets some Mommy nights and each girl gets some Daddy nights. However, when she can’t tuck the kids in at night because it is too painful to trudge up the stairs, I scoop up both of my girls and give them their snuggles and love before bed.

We try to live a simpler life than most. Because of that, we decided a long time ago to be a one income family. My wife had no aspirations to be a career woman. Teaching piano lessons, being Mommy, and keeping house were her biggest goals. So, I do the work thing and she stays home. And since she has the time, she takes care of stuff around the house during the day so that, in the evenings and weekends, we can be a family together. But when she can’t do the laundry, sweep the floors, scrub the toilets, clean out the fuzzy-green monsters from the refrigerator, wash the dishes, etc., because she has used up all her energy from the day simply getting dressed in the morning, I stop being the husband and start being the homemaker for a time.

My wife has ceded to me the recliner in the living room because it fits my body better than hers. It is a very comfy chair and it is my default seat in the evenings. But these days, when she needs the comfy chair in the living room because she needs to prop up various body bits to alleviate the discomfort, I give up my man-chair so it can nurture her wounds.

All part of being a stay-at-home-mom (and because I don’t get home in the evenings until almost 6:30 at times), my wife gets to play taxi and drive the daughters around to their various thingies. But pain, fatigue, exhaustion, etc., makes it so she can’t do this. When she needs me to drive the kids to school, flute lessons, horseback riding lessons, friends’ houses, church, Sunday school, youth group… basically everything that the Mom Taxi Service does, I use my vacation time to stay home so that the family continues to run smoothly and “normal” is preserved.

Note something here: I don’t do all this stuff because I HAVE to. I do it because I WANT to.

My time is not my own. My energy is not my own. My desires are not my own. Everything that is me, I give up so that my wife has the space, time, energy, and rest she needs to heal. It is my way of nourishing her, cherishing her so that she can, someday, get back to doing what she does.

But, to be honest, I’m not going to give up giving up for her. When she finally gets back to full health (and I trust in my God enough that I KNOW that will happen), there will still be days when I tell her to sit down and prop up her feet while I get a few things done around the house. There will still be days where she gets a well deserved day off and is allowed to rest and replenish herself. And I hope, honestly, that this journey we are on right now will train me up better so that those days will be more frequent than they were before this whole thing came down.

The situation my wife and I find ourselves is a bit extreme. Not every marriage faces these challenges. But every marriage, as I see it, should have this kind of sacrifice as the absolute core of what it means to love one another. Love is not about what you can get out of the marriage. Love is about what you put into it. I’m putting my entire self into it, sacrificing everything that is me in order that my wife will know how absolutely essential she is to me. Before I was married, I thought I was a complete person. Now that I’ve been married for almost 18 years, I cannot even begin to understand how I could have ever been so mistaken. Because of that, I give myself, my life, to my wife “as Christ loved the church”.>

[to read what Sheralyn Cloete has to say about making good assumptions, click here]

Philippians 2 verse 14 to 16 says, ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.’

this is an important one – a strong way in which i can show Love for someone is by serving them graciously! If my beautiful wife Val [tbV] asks me to do something for her and i sigh loudly and complain about it as i go about doing the task, then it really isn’t as if i have served her at all, because i may have done the job but i have made her feel bad or guilty about asking.

which i realised was something i was doing way too much of a while back and so i blogged this thort on when my yes sounds like a no and have really been making a effort to try and be more enthusiastic with my yes’es… [if the action is something i end up doing anyway, whether i particularly feel like it or not, then i have the choice of serving her and letting her feel loved or at the very least holding back from letting her feel victimised or unloved]

and so we arrive at ‘Enjoy without complaint’, altho i am not too sure how the person got from ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing’ to ‘Enjoy without complaint’ unless maybe we continue reading – ‘so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’

ah, and it goes back to Loving someone really well. when i know that i have done something that now tbV doesn’t have to do or that helps her out or makes her feel good then that is something that brings me a lot of joy. and hopefully when i do it for anyone. i don’t think the blamelessness and purity is anything we specifically pursue directly, but i think it is more an exciting by product of Loving people around you well.

as i seek to be someone who Enjoys without complaining, may i enrich the lives of those around me and by my example encourage others to consider trying to do the same…

do you have any examples of this to share?

to look at trusting without wavering, continue here.

let’s face it – Christians are not among the most loved and respected people when it comes to those outside of the church and i have often wondered why this is and so i started thinking about some of the core basics of this religion and suddenly it makes a lot of sense. when you look at what Christians intrinsically fundamentally believe (i’m not talking how some of them act or those who claim to be Christians but are living contrary to what being a Christian is meant to be but those who are actively living out what the bible teaches) then it becomes pretty obvious why we are despised and hated and regarded with suspicion

so let me take a couple of notes – purely by looking at the basics of what Christianity is about or meant to be about – to show why it is valid to hate Christianity…

part V: our faith is practical

‘Do not merely listen to the Word, and thus deceive yourselves, do what it says.’ [James 1.22]

‘What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go. I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.’ [James 2.14-17

One of the basic premises of being a Christ-follower is that we are not hidden away in a building somewhere practicing our religious stuff but we are in the lives of people, involved in community, reaching out, lifting up, serving, teaching, comforting, loving, taking care of needs…

No wonder you hate us to much…

for the conclusionary summary of ‘reasons to hate Christianity’, go here. by clicking.

let’s face it – Christians are not among the most loved and respected people when it comes to those outside of the church and i have often wondered why this is and so i started thinking about some of the core basics of this religion and suddenly it makes a lot of sense. when you look at what Christians intrinsically fundamentally believe (i’m not talking how some of them act or those who claim to be Christians but are living contrary to what being a Christian is meant to be but those who are actively living out what the bible teaches) then it becomes pretty obvious why we are despised and hated and regarded with suspicion

so let me take a couple of notes – purely by looking at the basics of what Christianity is about or meant to be about – to show why it is valid to hate Christianity…

part IV – It is all about others (or meant to be)

‘Then He (Jesus) said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his very self?”’ [Luke 9.23-25]

‘One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart  and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”’  [Matthew 22. 36-40]

‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.’ [Matthew 5.43-45a]

‘The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” [Matthew 23.11-12]

‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.’ [Matthew 13.14-15]

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [Matthew 13.34-35]

‘Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.’ [Romans 12.9-16]

and so on…

the most important commandment for a Christ-follower is to love God and love people (as he loves himself)

and then Jesus’ call to follow is essentially a call to die – to yourself, your pride, the it’s-all-about-me’ness that we grow up surrounded by and immersed in – and to follow Him and His example of being a servant to people who didn’t come close to deserving it

so as a Christian i am commanded to live a life predominantly about others – seeking their good above my own – meeting their needs… no wonder they hate us if that’s all we’re about.

for a last further different other ‘reason to hate Christianity’ click here.

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