Monday, August 07, 2006

Happy 13th Anniversary

Today my wife and I celebrate our 13th year of marriage. I am also reminded that this is my 15th year of official gospel ministry. Both of these anniversaries are reminders to me that I am who I am and I have what I have because of the grace and goodness of God. For 15 years God has allowed me to preach and teach His glorious Word to His people and this sinful world despite my sinful frailties. For 13 years He has blessed me with a wife who patiently loves me and supports me despite my sinful frailties. I preach because God is gracious. I have my wife because God is good.

This past weekend we were able to get away and spend some quality time in the mountains of East Tennessee. We were able to share some time on top of the Great Smokey Mountains, as well as stroll the streets of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (we even sat as people gawked at us while we had a caricature done :-). Also, we spent some time with our dear friends in Knoxville (Joel and Karmen Baker), and were able to fellowship and worship with the saints at Cornerstone Church. Over the weekend I was reminded once again what a blessing it is to have a godly wife. They are rare these days, as more and more women are not striving for biblical womanhood as much as there are striving for worldly esteem. Motherhood is not lauded and biblical manhood is degraded. Yet, this weekend God graciously reminded me of the gift I have in His daughter, my wife. She demonstrates to me and all who know her, what a godly wife is to be. Here are just 3 of the many ideas of a godly wife that she brings to my mind this evening.
1. A godly wife esteems her calling in the sight of God more than her achievements in the sight of this world. What is virtuous in the kingdom of God is often seen as a weakness in the kingdoms of this world. In God's kingdom humility and meekness are highly prized. In the kingdom's of this world humility and meekness are seen as weakness. So too when it comes to submission in women. A submissive wife is highly esteemed in God's economy, but in the world's estimation such women are derided and considered weak-minded and impotent. Yet, if my God is true and every man a lie, then this world can have its strong women, I will take a woman who esteems God's design for womanhood. This is true strength. This is eternally-rewarded strength. This my wife strives after. Our home is happy for it and I am encouraged by it.
2. A godly wife prizes motherhood as God's highest most glorious gift. In the Bible the most lauded and respected women are those who demonstrate a mother's heart. Whether it is Eve, Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, or even the most important woman in the Scriptures, Mary, these are woman who are known for their desire to worship God through children bearing. The world (and too often the church) esteems women who have achieved some great accomplishment great things in the world of politics, business, sport, music, or academics. Yet, the greatest women the world has known has been mothers. The world would commend the wealth and influence of Oprah. The world would commend the power and prestige of Condi Rice. But I will take a godly mother on her knees before God on behalf of her children over these women any day. I thank God my wife wants to be and loves being a mother. I love God for her desires. May we raise up more young women with such God-honoring sensibilities as well.
3. A godly wife supports her husband and willingly identifies with him. She does not consider it degrading to be known as the wife of her husband. The world would insist that she establishes her own identity and thus carve out her own place in the world. Yet, she knows, like Sarah, that her calling and kingdom work is to be at the side of the man God is calling to manifest the kingdom with her. She supports her husband not because he is perfect (far from it), not because he knows everything (hardly), but because she can not do a more God-honoring and Christ-demonstrative service to the kingdom than supporting the man of her vows. And so she seeks to encourage him at every turn. He does not want for attention because she is there to listen. He does not want for affection because her body is his and she longs to have him take her. He does not want for honor and respect because her words to him are full of support and encouragement. For 13 years my wife has been there for me. Today I am a better preacher than I was last year because of God's grace and goodness to me through her. And nothing equips me more for ministry than her loving encouragement and support.
I could go on and on about her. And those of you who have a wife of like character could give similar testimony, I'm sure. However, I fear that too many men and women have bought into the lie that they can have it all - God's esteem on Sunday and the world's esteem on Monday. I fear that we are raising up a generation of young women who know not the glories of submission in marriage and the eternal value and service of motherhood. And thus, we have a resigned generation of young men who are willing to accept less than God's design because they have not had it modeled any different. Yet, I will labor and strive to make sure this is not the case in my home and my church. Will you labor and strive to do the same in yours?
For 13 years God has given me a vision of what a godly mother and wife is to be. The next 13 years will be a testimony to how successful we will be in passing that vision along. I pray by God's grace and goodness, we will see the fruit of his grace in our lives through those he allows us to minister to in and outside our home.

7 comments:

John said...

Thank God for Godly wives. Unfortunately, they usually don't have much support. Mine is looked down upon by most of the young people in our town because she stays home to raise our children. She's such a blessing to me, and I know yours is to you!

Anonymous said...

I think it is selling women short to say that the greatest service they can be in God's kingdom is to be good mothers and wives. These are high callings, yes, and God makes it clear that they are to be done well. But God's purposes can extend far beyond what we have made so traditional. To even suggest that women like Condi Rice and Oprah are not in the center of God's will simply because they are not wives or mothers is to diminish the vastness of God's will and the immeasurable resources he will use in order for his will to be done. You use the example of Mary -- Mary was, indeed, called to motherhood and that fits well in the scope of what is traditional. But observe the untraditional way God allowed this plan to unfold? Mary was a virgin. That was, at the time, dangerously scandalous. So, the traditions that we hold in such high esteem mean nothing when God intends to see his will done on this earth. In fact, for all we know, he may look forward to breaking traditions, to pushing out the boundaries of what we arrogantly see as acceptable and righteous.

Mark Robinson said...

Brother Anthony,
As one who desires to be joined to a good Godly wife in God's wise timing, I rejoice with you on your anniversary! Soli Deo gloria.

ajcarter said...

John,
Be encouraged my friend. In the end, when kings and kingdoms pass away, God's word will still be the same and He will reward those who diligently and faithfully seek Him. I am encouraged to know you are there.

Unknown Soldier,
Condi and Oprah being used by God is not the issue. Vessels of dishonor are in the will of God just as vessels of honor are (2Tim. 2:20). Now, I am not saying that Condi is a vessel of dishonor, only making the point that to be God's will, in the ultimate sense, all you have to do is exist. Besides, the world would have us to think that being a mother and a wife is selling women short. Sure it would be selling them short if we are short-sighted. But the Kingdom of God has no such eye problems. If I must choose between worldly thinking and traditional (as you call it) biblical thinking, I will choose the latter everytime. I thank God my wife has chosen it too.
Thanks for coming by.

Mark,
Thanks for your blessing this day. May God be gracious and good to you in your labors and love as well.

jazztheo said...

Congratulations on both celebrations!

RBA Founder Xavier Pickett said...

Congrats...and I pray that God may give you many more years on both fronts.

FellowElder said...

Brother, praise God for your anniversary and your ministry! I wish more brothers would boast of their wives in public, honor them for the evidence of grace in their lives. Thank you for sharing with us the great blessings of God in your life. Praying that Christ is pictured more and more clearly in your marriage with each day, and that the joy of being int he Lord's presence would be yours and your wife's! Grace and peace,
Thabiti