As I sat in church Sunday morning the words from my pastor pierced my heart. A perspective I have never considered before revealed a part of my character I know well, but hate to acknowledge.
First, I ask that you take a moment to review the Scripture shared by my pastor and then I will explain.
19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. 20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
The pastor points out that the detail of Lazarus being laid at the gate of the rich man’s property and that later he calls Lazarus by name, could imply that Lazarus was not a stranger to the rich man, rather he was most likely his servant at one point. Then the two men die, one going to heaven and one to hell.
In studying these scriptures over the years I have always considered that the rich man, being in agony, just needed a drip of water to help ease the pain of his suffering in hell. So being able to see Lazarus, he asks for what it is he needs.
The perspective shift happened when the pastor mentions how the rich man was still full of pride, demanding of his servant even from hell. The rich man still wanted to be served.
Immediately, God brought to my mind and heart the way I demand of my husband. I am quick to request of him, without any thought of what fulfilling my needs would cost him.
Now I do think it is important for husbands and wives to be willing to serve each other, but in a healthy way, a respectful way, a loving way.
The rich man proved with his life where his heart was. He did not care for Lazarus when he had the means to do so, instead he lived in luxury himself and only cared for himself.
I do the same thing in my role as a wife. I constantly justify in my mind why my husband should serve me and then I proceed to make my demands…
Get me some water.
Move that over there.
Take the trash out.
Change our son.
I said change our son!
Do this, do that.
Don’t do that anymore.
Pick up the bathroom.
Clean the car out.
Hand me that.
Do the dishes.
That is all I could think of right now, but I am sure there are more.
Somewhere in our relationship I stopped saying please, can you, would you, and thank you. Somewhere I lost my respect for who my husband is and saw him as an asset, a servant who serves me. And when I do this, especially in an irritated tone because he is not going fast enough or doing what I asked in the way I expect, my husband cringes. I know my actions and demands are chipping away his attraction for me, he doesn’t need to tell me so, I just know they must be, yet my flesh craves more and continues down a path of destruction.
Somewhere I abandoned my desire to serve him in love.
I suppose I still serve my husband, I mean I throw his laundry in with mine when I do the wash, same with the dishes when I gather the energy to do them. But I do not take the time to truly serve him in a special way, a memorable way, a kind way as he does for me. Just about every night when we climb into bed, he plays with my hair until I fall asleep. Most days I don’t even ask. He just serves me. And I love it. I adore it.
When recently asked how I nurture my marriage by serving my husband, I was stumped. I didn’t like that feeling and I don’t like recognizing that I am the wife from hell, demanding and taking but never giving. I don’t ever want to feel that way again!
So I am reaching out and asking for help. Will you pray with me for my heart to change? That God would strip me of pride and show me how I can serve my husband in a loving way. Also, would you list a few ideas for me, ways you intentionally serve your husband. I am determined to transform this part of me! I want to be a blessing to my husband, not a burden!