Our present culture offers little help to the Church Militant. Comforts and distractions abound; the continuous drone of ubiquitous advertisements chant a mantra of “you deserve it,” “take a break,” and “pamper yourself.” Lest we become the proverbial frog, slowly boiled to death in the accumulating abominations of our age, the Church must recover the glory and joy of indefatigable labor.
Jesus gives us counterintuitive logic about life’s labor: those who seek to preserve their own life shall lose it, but those who lose their life for Christ sake shall find it. Although Jesus arguably speaks of martyrdom here, he is only applying a logic already imbedded in the Old Testaments Scripture upon which He was reared. Proverbs 11:24-26 contains several maxims on generosity and miserliness:
“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be upon the head of him who sells it.”
While it is easy to apply these maxims to others, or especially to public leaders, business owners, and the wealthy, it is no less true of every human soul, from fathers & mothers, to husbands & wives, and children & siblings. Indeed, the deepest cuts come upon husbands and fathers, whose God-given duty is still, as it was in the Garden of Eden, to tend and to keep God’s Creation: to cultivate it by our labors, and preserve it from threats within and without. In the next post we can take a closer look at how the husband-and-father can take Jesus’ words to heart, and bring them to bear in his own life.
But for now, let’s end with a claim to consider:
Every wife and every child can tell the difference between the father-and-husband’s genuine sacrificial work on behalf of the family that takes him out of their presence, and the sort of activity that the father-and-husband chooses for himself that takes him away with no perceivable benefit.