June 26 I retired from pastoring after spending the last 35 years at Main Street Baptist Church in Doylestown (I inadvertently said 25 last blog). It was a wonderful service which I will always remember. I shared 2 lessons I learned in my 70 years of life. The first lesson is that God doesn’t need me but I need Him. I wrote about that in my last blog. This time I want to write about the second lesson, a good wife is worth more than rubies.
God has blessed me with a wonderful wife or I wouldn’t be where I am today. The longer I am married to her the more I appreciate the fine person she is and the more I thank God for such a special gift. Her behind-the-scenes work and faithfulness in my life and ministry is invaluable. Her faithful, deep prayer life accomplishes more for the Kingdom than my frantic activity. She is my greatest prayer supporter. Through her I have learned about God’s unconditional love for me, because I’ve seen it demonstrated through her. I understand God can and will forgive me for she has exemplified that time and time again. I can trust His faithfulness better because I see it lived out in her life.
Sometimes we think we could accomplish more in life if it weren’t for the needs of our mates and families. We can resent the time they take. Perhaps I could have done more in quantity without my wife and family, but that wouldn’t have lasted. The quality would have been far less, and even so I’m sure I would have burnt out of disqualified myself in some way without her. Learning to meet her needs first doesn’t take away from my ministry, in enriches it by maturing me. Whatever I put into her I get back many times over. Learning to put someone before myself hasn’t been easy but has been essential in marriage and ministry.
The main lessons I’ve learned in life and the greatest spiritual and emotional growth I’ve experienced in life have come through my marriage. Things haven’t always been easy or perfect, and they still aren’t. God uses our imperfections and our conflicts to teach me about humility, service, apologizing, forgiving and accepting forgiveness. These things can’t be learned from a book, only from life.
Any time you take two people who are opposites and put them together there will be struggles. Male and female, introvert and extrovert, first born and baby of the family – we are as opposite as we can be. Then add a fully active sin nature in each of us and you have a sure formula for conflict. The major lessons of life, love and growth which I’ve learned have come through my marriage and family, not my ministry. By comparison ministry is easier. Others are easier to impress, they don’t need as much from me and I can keep them at a safe distance. None of that is true of my wife.
I am amazed at how we continue to grow deeper and deeper in love daily, how we enjoy each other, how deeply we are bonded together and at the history and understanding we share. Our greatest pains are caused by each other, but so are our greatest joys. And the joys far outweigh the pain. The older I get and the further I go in life the more I realize that a good wife IS worth far more than rubies. And so is a good husband for you women reading this! (July 4, 2016 Doylestown, PA)
Proverbs 31:10-12 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
How much do you truly value your mate? How much do you resent the demands they put on you?
What do you truly sacrifice to meet your mate’s needs? What more should you be doing?
When is the last time you told them how much they mean to you? Do so now (some time today).
Spend some time in prayer thanking God for them and praying for their needs.