A Spousal Illustration of the Gospel

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Spousal llustration of the Gospel

Yesterday we were getting ready to head up to the in-laws house. I was headed up to the Desiring God Regional Conference at a local church in Taylors, SC (near Greenville) where John Piper is to speak on the subject matter in one of his latest books, "When I Don't Desire God."

Money is tight these days, especially as we look toward a transition next week. I save up about $40 a week out of my paycheck for what I call ministerial expenses. These funds are usually used for purchasing spiritual and intellectual fodder - that would be books, of course.

I had saved up somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 or so. I had my eye on the Banner of Truth set, The Works of Thomas Brooks. I also have a list of books I keep on my PDA called "Books to Buy." There is well over $200 worth of books on that list. In addition, I was headed up the Piper conference and would undoubtedly need a little food and gas money.

However, I was struck by an epiphane over a week ago. About three weeks ago my wife and I were perusing the aisles of StuffMart (a.k.a. Sam's Club). She eyed a Wolfgang Puck 700 watt mixer/bistro blender combo deal she'd been wanting since Christmas of last year. They still had several in stock. And they were an amazing $179! (If you know anything about small kitchen appliances, a blender this powerful at this price is simply unheard of. I'm secretly looking forward to using it to mix some cement for a home improvement job I'd like to do soon!) By the way, if you're a husband who doesn't keep up with stuff like that, shame on you. Make at least a mental list of these kinds of things. After all, things with a cord generally end up benefiting you in the long run, don't they!

So, back to the epiphany, when it hit me, I left immediately after dinner to make the thirty minute drive into town (we live in the country), and I made it to StuffMart after closing. So I snuck in the exit, made my way toward the right aisle, picked up a unit, paid for it and left. And I did all that while talking to my buddy Lance Quinn on the mobile phone! (Pretty talented, huh?). I took home $4.00 in change.

The lesson? I'm no gospel-hero. This is a highlight in my life, which is why it gets a post. But I love my wife. And the concept of dying to self, as Jesus taught us to do, is something inherent in the call of the gospel (Luke 9:23). Thinking of the needs of others as more important than our own needs, is what it means to have the mind of Christ in us (Phil. 2:3-5). (She justifiably needed the unit since (1) she had no mixer - and she the amount of homemade loaves of bread she makes every week to feed a family of six needs a hefty mixer like this one; and (2) she had no blender, since she dropped a fork into the last one while it was blending a blueberry/rasberry smoothie. The thing shattered, juice flew everywhere, you get the picture.)

In return, I got what the normal response from my wife. She's so unassuming. She had no idea I was doing this, but did know what I needed the money for. So after she picked her jaw up from the 1970's dated kitchen floor, she threw her arms around me, and the rest is not for blog history.

So back to yesterday. My wife does her grocery store shopping every Monday. She does an unbelievable job of spending about $80 a week in cash for groceries to feed us all. Amazing, huh? I spent that much on myself alone when I was single! But you know what she did? She did what she could for me. She scrimped on the shopping that week to save $18 for me to take on my trip with me. What a wife. I mean really, isn't this what gospel-centered marriage is supposed to be about? Giving and receiving, pouring out grace on each other as much as we can, in as many creative and helpful ways as we can? I relish this relationship. And the better part of it is that our kids watch it all and learn from it.

So I used part of that $18 to buy me an Chilled Chai Late at Panera Bread Company where I sit, sipping on my Chai, waiting for the conference registration to begin, while mooching off their free WiFi access to make this post. Life is good. Enjoy the wife of your youth. Be a spouse who lives for the other. As my dear friend Lou Priolo told me in my premarital counseling time, "you should be so Sherri-oriented that the two of you are tripping over each other to serve each other."

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