Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I was sitting in a Chinese buffet restaurant at lunch today (I know this sounds like the beginning of a bad country song) and overheard a conversation of five men at a nearby table. One of the things they were discussing was a contractual marriage one of them had heard about. In this marriage, a second marriage for both people, they literally spelled out all the things that would be required of each other. It ranged from house work to sex, and seemingly didn't miss much. One of the gentlemen lamented that he had not done that with his wife.
As I sat there I was saddened for each of them, and especially for the couple they were discussing. Marriage is a mystical union of two people to become one flesh, which is something that we cannot easily explain. And marriage is the model the Bible uses to describe the relationship between Christ and the church.
I started thinking about the people I know who are in contractual arrangements with God through their church. If they do a certain number of things, or don't do others, then God will reciprocate by granting them something. That is not what God had in mind for marriage or for our relationship with him.
I'm no marriage expert, but I have enough mileage on me to know that when we start getting the ledger out to keep score, something has gone horribly wrong. How can we selflessly give ourselves to another while keeping track of who took out the trash?
And how can we give ourselves to God while keeping one eye on the ledger to make sure that we don't do more than our share and checking to see if our prize is on the way? It just seemed really sad to me.