There is a story that my pastor used to tell. It is of a local preacher who chose to take the message to the streets, literally. He set up a PA system on the side of the road and would preach to anyone that might be able to hear him. The one message that he was known for preaching came from Ephesians 5:25. In the NIV it says;
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
The only thing that my pastor remembered about this guy was that he would, with much enthusiasm, yell “Husbands, you gotta LOVE your wives.” This is the bottom line of this particular passage, but it does not end there.
Most husbands would say that they love their wives. They would say that they got this passage down. IF it stopped with a simple command to love your wife, then they might be right. BUT, it goes on to tell us how we should love them;
“As Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her”
So this leads us to the question, “how did Jesus give himself up for the church.”
- He left the glory of heaven: He walked away from splendor unlike anything that we can ever imagine. He left a world where pain, sorrow, hunger, thirst, betrayal and tears did not exist. He did this knowing that he would personally experience ALL of these things, even death.
- He allowed himself to be beaten: He could have called a legion of angels to come and rescue him, but he allowed himself to be beaten and mocked, and then hung on a cross until he died.
This is the example that has been set before us as to how we, as husbands, should love our wives. This example is one of self sacrifice. This example is one of setting your own needs and desires aside for the sake of your wife. That is what it means to “love your wife as Chist loved the church.” It means to be willing to set aside what you want of her sake. It means being willing to suffer, for her sake. You may never have to face death for her sake, but it means being willing to.
What does this have to do with Children’s Ministry?
Well, I firmly believe that children’s ministry starts in the home. Whether you are a children’s ministry leader, another leader in the church, a church member, or don’t even attend church. Regardless, the first and best ministry potential in YOUR child’s life happens in YOUR house. In the Bible being a husband comes before being a father. If you want to be the best father possible, start by being the best husband possible.
As a father one of the best gifts you can give your children is to love their mother.
You see, your son will learn from YOU how a woman should be treated. If you want your son to be a great husband, show him how. If you want your son to respect women, show him how. If you I want your son to respect his mother, show him how.
Likewise, your daughter will learn from YOU how a man should treat her. If you want your daughter to end up with a husband that treasures her as much, or more, than you do show her what that looks like. If you want your daughter to accept nothing less than the type of love that Christ showed the church, show her what that looks like.
I understand that this is not easy. It goes against our nature as sinful creatures. Not to mention that sometimes our wives don’t make it easy. (Don’t tell my wife I said that.) I didn’t mean you honey.
Anyway, this verse is not about our wives, it is about us. Paul is not speaking to our wives here, he is speaking to us. There is no loop hole that says if our wife is mean, if she likes to nag, or if she doesn’t cook well that we don’t have to love her SACRIFICIALLY. This verse is not about our wives or how they should behave ( I’ll talk to them tomorrow), this is about us. We can not use them as an excuse. When we face God he will not accept, “but she…” as a reason that you didn’t love your wife. So,
Husbands, you gotta LOVE your wives.