Saturday, July 9, 2011
“…I die daily” -1 Cor. 15:31
This past weekend I was at an antebellum southern plantation near Baton Rouge. We were there for the beautiful wedding of my niece, Anna. It was a wonderful wedding and will be a wonderful marriage. Her fiancé Bo is a great guy and they have a great future ahead of them.
As the “officiate” of the wedding, I was struck by all of the detail that went into the ceremony itself. Months and weeks before the wedding, hundreds of details had to be checked off a list. The day of the wedding required specific timing and coordination, and the service itself was an orchestrated celebration of God’s invention of marriage.
But the wedding has little to do with the marriage. I’ve often thought of all the wedding rings that sit, gathering dust, in jewelry boxes all over the world. They were slipped on fingers with guarantees of love and commitment only to be removed a few years later in pain and sorrow. It’s so easy to make commitments but such a challenge to keep them.
The same is true in parenting. What parent isn't beaming from ear to ear the day their child is born? There is no greater joy than the birth of our son or daughter. We are so proud and fully prepared to do whatever is needed to raise our child in the best possible way. We’ve prepared by buying the most expensive crib at Babies “R” Us, every known gadget to monitor their sleep and the top-notch toys to entertain them.
But in marriage, the honeymoon eventually ends and the raw job of loving and serving begins. And it’s a wonderful job! Most husbands and wives forget that love is a decision, not made once on an altar, but a decision made every day and every moment. Love is a wonderful decision to “die” to my own needs and wants and to serve.
Kids are so easy to handle at the hospital where the nurses watch their every move in the nursery. But beginning with that first night at home, the choice to love begins. Changing diapers in the middle of the night isn’t usually our first choice. But we make the choice to love and love sometimes means changing dirty, poopy diapers in the middle of the night.
Marriage requires the same choices. In our single years, we’re used to making choices for ourselves. But in marriage, as we choose to love and serve, our spouse’s needs become more important than our own. We are all, by nature, selfish and our nature is “me” focused. But love chooses to overrule our selfish nature and focus on the other.
Whether in marriage or in parenting, make the choice to love. Flip through the scrapbook of your kids when they were born or go back and watch the video of your wedding. Be reminded of the commitments made and refocus your energies towards love.
Make the tougher decision to die to yourself and love your precious spouse or child. Then, ironically, you’ll be the recipient of the greatest blessing of all...
By Eric Joseph Staples ©