Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Husbands

The other day there was someone on the television who spoke of his "husband". (Note the pronoun.) It made me think. What is the meaning of the word, "husband"? I ask myself that because of the apparent connection to the term "husbandry". Husbandry is the conservation and careful management of resources. Usually it's referring to farm management, but not necessarily. And, as it turns out, this is the idea of the verb, "husband". (Did you know there was a verb form?) The verb means precisely that ... to use economically, to conserve. The word comes from Old Norse, originally meaning "a peasant with his own farm". The prefix, hus, refers to (of all things) a house, and the suffix, bondi, speaks of an owner, of one who has a household. This is where the modern "head of household" comes from and the origin of "manage a farm" as well.

In our day "husband" has been largely boiled down to "the male spouse". Biblically, however, what we read in Scripture looks a lot more like the ancient form. Husbands are supposed to be "head of household" (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:22; Eph 6:4), but we are supposed to be something other than "lords". We are supposed to be "husbanders", so to speak. We are supposed to husband.

Husbands are not called to be taskmasters or kings. We are supposed to "manage the farm". We are to lead in service. We are supposed to love our wives and "sanctify her ... by the washing of water with the word" (Eph 5:26). We are supposed to make a lifelong practice of understanding her and honoring her (1 Peter 3:7). And I'll tell you a secret, Christian husbands. If we were the husbands that God commands, no one would complain about it. Not our wives. Not the general public. Because we would be "growing" our wives, tending to them, taking care of them, husbanding them.

It's really a shame, you know. Believing husbands ought to be the ambassadors for a biblical view of what it means to be a husband and father. Instead, we mostly just model "the male spouse". Some are cruel and domineering. The majority are just "along for the ride". We ought to be models of husbandry, managing our limited resources, both in "stuff" and the people who are our families, as well as tending to that extremely limited resource that is that one wife God has given us. That is the image of Christ and His Bride, the Church. That is my prayer for myself.

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