Thursday, July 21, 2011


If you want a passage from the Bible that makes most women feel miserable, turn to Proverbs 31.  In verses ten to the end, Lemuel constructs a standard for a wife that is simply unreachable. It reminds me of the Facebook post that has bounced around cyberspace (typically posted by a woman):
A real woman always keeps her house clean and organized, the laundry basket is always empty. She's always well dressed, hair done. She never swears, behaves gracefully in all situations and all circumstances. She has more than enough patience to take care of her family, always has a smile on her lips, and a kind word for everyone. Post this as your status if you, too, have just realized that you might be a man.
Might I suggest that Lemuel King did not write Proverbs 31 for women but for men?  Think about it.  He's chatting with his bros.  "An excellent wife, who can find?" he begins. He's chatting amongst his consorts about the wonders of an excellent wife. I believe he has such a woman and this is an ode from a man about his woman. This man knows his wife (1 Peter 3:7) and turns that knowledge into praise for her. It's not false praise. It's very specific, truthful wonderment about the phenomenal woman that he knows as his bride.

"She is far more precious than jewels." Let the flavor of that verse roll around on your palate. She is of highest value. What toys in your house do you really like? Wii? Jet skis? iPod, -Pad, -Touch? Golf clubs? Rifle? What investments are you hiding away? 401k's?  IRA's?  CD's? Pensions? Do you understand that tomorrow you might have none of them? With as tinder-dry as we are in north Texas, one wayward spark could incinerate millions of acres to include my home and toys, and with as tinder-dry as our economy is, one nightmarish spark could dissolve decades of savings. James spoke truly when he said that we have no promise of tomorrow (4:14). Were you to lose all those things but God saw fit to leave you your woman, would you consider yourself a wealthy man, one who has obtained God's favor (Proverbs 18:22).

I hadn't thought of this before, but if I ask you in a word to describe Job's wife, what would you say? Shrew? Harpy? Wench? The narrative states that despite his devastations, Job did not sin against God (1:22, 2:10b). Not sinning against God meant that he did not mistreat his wife despite her mistreatment of him. It sounded like he even gave her a rebuke in love though he suffered greatly (2:10a). Now get this. They went on to have ten more kids together (42:13)! Can any married man die as "an old man and full of days" (42:17) unless he considers his wife to be his most precious treasure?

Here's the rub. We'll call it Rub #1. We treasure what we choose to treasure. There's no inherent value in any of the junk I named earlier. Sure the manufacturer will put a price on it, but that is not the value of the thing. It depends upon the person. It depends upon me. When it comes to humanity, our price is not dependent. God has declared us to be of infinite worth by creating us in his image. For that reason alone, we ought consider our wives of infinite worth.

Still, many of us do not. The mundanity of dirty laundry, morning breath and flatulence hardens us toward seeing our bride as common instead of as the unsurpassing treasure that she is. The day in and day out grind leads us toward taking our wife for granted and is why we must choose to see our woman with the high and lofty eyes through which God sees her.

You do this already? Good. Let me move to Rub #2. How would your wife respond if she knew she could do so with complete anonymity to the question, "Do you feel treasured by your husband?" You see, we can say that we treasure our wife but if she isn't getting the message, if she doesn't see that played out day in and day out, what good are my words?

So today treasure your wife! How? Here are a few tips:
  • Use words. Lemuel did. Go back to Proverbs 31:10ff and learn how to commend your wife. Notice all the areas he picked to praise his paramour. Give it a try.
  • Use the spoken word. Give her a call in the middle of the day and tell her that she was on your mind. Tell her you appreciate her because ___________ and fill in the blank. When you get home, commend her for ________. You get the idea.
  • Use the written word. Text her. Touch her heart. You don't know how to touch her heart? Then you best get to work, Bubba. Go to the store and find a card that expresses you appreciation for the woman she is, and then write your own sentiment in it, too. Don't just sign it. Go buy a stamp, address it and put it in the mail. Nothing quite like it to a woman to get a card from the man she loves.
  • Use touch. Kiss her. Hold her. Do this in front of your kids. Let others see that you treasure your wife. Open doors for her. Hold her hand. Touch her face for no other reason than she is yours and you get to!
  • Use your ears. Let her talk. Listen to her. Ask her what's going well in your marriage. Ask her what she thinks you guys need to work on. Hold her opinion in high regard and actually put your shoulder to the plow and get to work on the areas she thinks your marriage needs work. Treasure her by making your marriage even better than it is.
Really, brothers, the sky's the limit when it comes to treasuring our women. We're limited by our imaginations.  It's time to stretch those imaginations.

One last point to ponder. As easily as our toys and our wealth may vanish, so, too, might our bride be taken from us. Live your life with her so that if God takes her home, you will have no regrets about how you treasured her in this life, treasured her above all save our God and Savior.

Husbands, love your wives!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gone in an instant

"You do not know what tomorrow will bring."
~ James

In 1974, "Gone in 60 Seconds" told the the tale of car thieves. You run into Stripes to grab a soda and come out to find an empty parking spot. You have a car one minute and faster than you can say Penn & Teller, you're a pedestrian.

The Japanese know this full well. A beautiful morning. The earth trembles and the coastline disappears beneath the heaving sea. Thousands did not understand that they would face their creator in a few brief hours.

One moment you have a job, then your boss calls you into his office and you become just another useless bit of weight tossed overboard trying to keep a boat afloat.

God has warned us about life in a fallen world. The sun rises and sets with hypnotic regularity.  Surely, I will see the sunset tonight. In this world, we have to come to terms with sudden crises. At the beginning of May, the folks in Joplin, Missouri, looked forward to another normal summer. Today, they're still picking up the pieces from the tornado that bulldozed their town on May 22nd.

Dealing with such devastation is bad enough. Inflicting it is much, much worse.

One fateful night three thousand years ago, David strolled the rooftop of his palace. Before that night, in 2 Samuel 7 we read of God's covenant with the man after his own heart, a covenant to establish his kingdom..  In 2 Samuel 8 and 10, we read of the security and strength God brought to Israel through the hand of David and his strong leadership among his people (8:15). 2 Samuel 8 reveals to us the tender heart to this mighty warrior.  Then comes 2 Samuel 11.

From the rooftop, David catches a glimpse of Bathsheba in all her glory. Understand, David had other wives (plural) within his palace. Had he simply gotten his libido into a dander, certainly one of his wives could have satisfied him. But he lingered and ensnared himself in a devastating endeavour. James 1:13-15 in story form.

His consolidated kingdom became a place of chaos as rebellion burbled to life even within his own palace. Did the sins of the father lead to the ultimate demise of Israel (1 Kings 11:3)?

Here's the deal.  Do you really think that on that singular evening, David intended to bring about the demise of his kingdom and God's people?  I doubt it, but that is what he did. The pain, the death, the sorrow, and the agony heaped upon his head and the head of so many others for the oh so brief pleasure of sin for a season?

While none of us is king to a nation, your life has enormous impact well beyond the reach of your arm. You are one flesh with your woman. You may have sons and daughters who look to you to lead them toward the Lord. Many in the church depend upon you and your service. You are, if you name the name of Christ, his ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20) to a lost and dying world in your neighborhood, in your workplace, and in your community. If you let your guard down for an evening, you may find yourself mauled (1 Peter 5:8).

Take a few moments and read this article by John MacArthur on the fragility of our character and our reputation, but I ask you to consider it in light of your role as a husband. Many of us will have to deal with catastrophe from the world around us, but let it not be so that catastrophe comes upon us through our own hands.

Gents, always, love your wives!