I’m Older Now

That eager lad dashed about with inexhaustible energy. And he bore an idealism fitting for his youth. He didn’t know the tears and toil that time would add to his account.

He knelt in prayer and dedicated every waking breath. And then he stood and spent himself for everyone who called. Silly boy! How they used him up. Those hours and early starts. Those freezing nights and back-breaking loads. Those long, long days in unrelenting sun.

Yet he kept his word and stepped up again and again. They patted him on the head and said nice things about him. Without him much would never have occurred. His back carried the load. His car carried the people. His phone made the calls. His ear listened to the complaints and woes. It kept him on his toes.

The process finally found its end. A young woman won his heart and laid her own claim on his time. Something had to give and so, slowly, the zealous investment was tempered by other calls for his money, time and mind.

He moved on. New pressures called him to the mill. He earned his keep and hers. Together they built a life and did what they could in their spare time.

Marriage and family, renting and working gobbled up the years and put them in the suburbs. Hopes came and went. Projects were launched and spent.

Old sermons didn’t stir as they had before. Other people’s needs were dismissed as impossibilities now. Someone else would have to pay the price that once he’d paid. Others would have to bear the loads he bore. Someone else would have to be the bunny for all who needed a lackey.

His wife and his life, his children and his bills kept him in the real world where dreams were out of place. Yesterday’s ideals were boxed with other relics of his naive youth. How silly to be so simple and so sold out. How fruitless all those miles and hours and aches and pains.

But then…. the heart always retained a sense of that call felt long ago.

While stiffer limbs and double chin replaced the skinny zest,
the youthful zeal, now hardly real was never laid to rest.

Often o’er the years a flow of tears trickled to sermons preached.
The call still echoed there buried by life’s care yet still alive enough to now be reached.

And so it was that an older man stumbled to the altar and stood among a crowd of eager youth. As they committed themselves to serve the Lord with all they had to give he scanned the zealous ones with memories of his journey long ago.

“I’m older now”, he thought. “And do not come with the ignorance of youth. I know now what I did not know back then. I once launched off with wild, untamed enthusiasm. Ideals and imagination pulled me to the front to throw myself unmeasured to the cause.”

“But now I’m not a lad. I’m no longer wet behind the ears. I’m calloused by the passing years. I stand here with stiff knees and workman’s hands. I stand here with my debts and all my life’s demands.”

“I stand here to the call. It asks me for my all. And I have stumbled forward once again.
I know the price to pay. I know what my wife will say. But I’m not here to serve the Lord in vain.”

And there among those crying youth a man bent down to pray. His lowered chubby torso conspicuous among the rest. He’s older now. And he kneels like he’s never knelt before. This is no repeat of youthful zeal. This is something deeper, and more real.

Here is one who knows the price. Here is one who feels the weight. Here is one who drags himself back to where he has been.

A special trumpet voluntary was composed in heaven that day. The angels love to play it when they can. It speaks of those older, wiser ones who’ve chosen to go all the way. It celebrates the yielded-ness of man.

The Marriage University

I spoke recently with a husband who was struggling to come to terms with his own responsibility in his home. To help him grasp one of the concepts I came up with a new analogy which I had not used before. I share it here to give you additional focus on the journey couples make in graduating into glory.

Different Roles in the Marriage

Husbands and wives have unique roles in the marriage. There are specific things husbands must do, that their wives are not asked to do. There are specific things wives are asked to do, that their husbands are not asked to do. Both husband and wife must make personal progress in their own assignment, irrespective of how the spouse is getting on with their challenges.

Different Places of Responsibility

According to the Bible, God has established human society by way of a hierarchy of responsibility. That hierarchy starts with God. Almighty God has the ultimate authority and the greatest responsibility, overseeing all else. Directly under God’s authority, and next in the hierarchy of responsibility is Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Then, directly under Jesus Christ is the husband. In the marriage and family, the husband carries the next level of authority and responsibility. The wife, is then under the husband’s authority, just as the husband is under Christ’s authority and Christ is under God.

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1Corinthians 11:3

Different Lessons to Learn

Many specific responsibilities spring from this hierarchical structure. The Husband must shoulder responsibility for the wife, children and home. He is directly answerable to God for his management and handling of the relationships, standards, training and spiritual blessing of the home. This includes morality, godliness, the fear of God, holiness, discipline, direction, spiritual and natural protection, and more.

The Wife must bring herself under the headship of the husband. This will be hard for her if she looks only at her husband. She must recognise and place her trust in God and Christ, as the husband’s heads. If she fails to do that she will end up taking matters into her own hands, making demands of her husband, manipulating, contending and otherwise failing to submit to his headship.

The husband must be able to nurture his wife and children, while being sure that he is answerable to Jesus and God, not others who will seek to direct his life. He must ensure that he does not abdicate to his wife, and allow her to replace Christ as the head of the home. If he allows her to do that he brings spiritual problems into the whole family.

Marriage University

Both husband and wife are attending the same university of life. They attend classes together, but both must learn different lessons from the life situations which they confront. It is as if they are both sitting side by side in the lecture hall, listening to the lessons. Yet the husband is enrolled in a different course to his wife. He will be set different assignments and tested on different questions to his wife, even from the same professor.

The husband is studying headship of his wife and submission to Christ. The wife is studying submission to her husband and faith in Christ and God.

The Curriculum

The Marriage University is an open book, mastery learning, life-experience oriented environment. The curriculum covers the same scope for all who attend, but the individual differences of each student are taken into account by the teachers. Some will study longer and be challenged with more difficult lab tests. Some will find that the open learning environment continues with extension courses for the rest of their lives.

Honours Courses

Each couple should make it their determination to graduate with Honours. High Distinctions are the best objective for each elective and every test. When a person graduates with that standard they are guaranteed many graces and much blessing from their diligent and faithful application.

The fruit of the course begins to be enjoyed long before graduation. Each lesson learned opens the couple to new joys and new privileges in their relationship. In time they will be expected to tutor other students and may well become emeritus professors themselves, as they make the grade and master the curriculum.

Here’s to Your Studies

I wish you every success in your studies. Please don’t drop out of the course. There’s nowhere to go if you can’t stay in the lessons.

And may the Living Lord God bless your relationship as you study and master the material together.