At one point in the program, the opportunity was given for people to share what they most appreciated about his four decades of ministry. Those who went to the microphone recognized his powerful preaching, far-sighted commitment to serving the inner-city, and the numerous young people he mentored into the ministry (I was one of those fortunate individuals).
Yet, the one outstanding accomplishment mentioned most often was this, “I’d like to thank you, Pastor, for the way you loved your wife. Your marriage was an example to all of us.” Person after person expressed their gratitude for the love and tenderness he displayed toward his wife over the decades. One person said, “You may not have known this, Pastor, but your marriage offered hope when our own relationship was in trouble. Your example gave us the courage to keep trying.”
Isn’t that remarkable? After 37 years of strong preaching, compassionate outreach, and providing visionary leadership, the one thing many people appreciated most was the quality of his marriage. That makes sense when you consider the high priority God’s Word gives to a loving and intimate marriage.
The impact of our marriage on the well-being of the church, our family, and those around us makes the stakes incredibly high. If we allow God to soften our hearts toward each other, the reverberations will spread far and wide — to our children, our neighbors and even the world. But if we go the opposite direction and harden our hearts, we can do irreparable damage to a wide variety of people. That’s why loving our spouse should be our first priority in life, second only in importance to our love for the Lord Jesus.
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee…This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in Him.” John 2:1, 11
Remember, marriage is for better for worse for keeps.