My Momma was a Home-Economics teacher in the South. In other words, she could COOK! She could do a whole lot of other things (and still does…she’s just retired now) like sew, iron, balance a family budget, make cleaning products from stuff in your fridge, explain the chemistry behind your charred bbq spare ribs, etc. The point of this post though depends upon her prowess as a cook. We would quite often come in the house to find some food experiment for us to try like guinea pigs or a fantastic creation of known caliber for class, church or company.
One day my brother and I came running in to discover a three-tiered, chocolate cake that looked moist and delicious…and smelled even better. We of course assumed it was for someone else. Hope springs eternal however in a 12 year old boys’ stomach, so I asked if we could have some. Her response was magical that day – “Of course you can. Jonathan, you cut a slice for yourself and one for your brother (I am two years older than my brother and was apparently entrusted with the chef’s knife upon that distinguishing characteristic).” As I started to make the second cut she then said, “But your brother gets to choose which slice he gets.”
Did I mention that my Momma is a brilliant manipulator of outcomes? I instantaneously went from cutting a massive slice and a smaller version to cutting two perfectly equal slices. There was no way my brother was getting a bigger slice than I was.
This is the way Capitalism works. Human greed pitted against itself. I want stuff and things, so I will work hard to earn the money to get stuff and things. The harder I work, the more stuff I get.
This is not the way Christ works. Christ calls us to love the other more than the self, and he modeled it for us in the way he lived and in the way he died. Love would have cut the slices of cake slightly off from one another, and then would give the slightly bigger slice to the other. This is in fact the picture we get of God’s plan for a loving, Christian marriage. The Husband is the Head of the House and is called to sacrifice – even die for his beloved. A husband who leads like Christ receives as his reward the respect of his wife.
Unfortunately, most marriages work like capitalism instead of like Christ. Most spouses are measuring the slices to make sure the other isn’t getting more than they are, instead of making sure the other knows they are loved by how you treat them.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…” (Ephesians 5:25a-b, NIV)