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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Missionary Wives Survey, Part 4: More daily life

Photo by: Michelle Meiklejohn

It’s fun to follow missionary women’s days. You can easily see how normal, yet different they are. Here are a few more daily schedules. (If you didn’t read the first three posts by missionary wives, you may access them here, here, and here.) 
Monday. (Who doesn’t like a Monday?!) I usually start out by doing a load of laundry, since I hang my stuff out to dry, and I never know what the weather is going to do. We homeschool, as well. While the kids do school, I bounce between doing lunch, teaching them, hanging our clothes, or any other cleaning that is scheduled. After school, the kids will clean up their rooms after the busy weekend. We have a large lunch. At 7:30, I leave for ladies’ prayer meeting. My husband will make a light meal for the children. I usually get home around 10:30. Then, we’re ready for bed!


Tuesday – Rise early and spend time with the Lord before making breakfast. Once breakfast is over, we start school. We work on homeschooling until lunch. We usually take an hour for lunch before starting back to school. On Tuesdays, for a couple of hours in the afternoon, we do a Bible study with a woman. During that time, my kids are either doing schoolwork or playing quietly. Once the Bible study is over, it’s usually time to finish up with school and start supper. Our neighbor boy comes over almost every afternoon and stays until after supper. He’s a good friend to the kids as well as a big help in our language practice! After supper, we catch up on a few chores, and then we spend the evening playing games before family devotions, and then bed. 
My favorite day is Tuesday. Get up early, go to gym at 7:00. Come back home, have devotions, breakfast and shower, get ready to go to a school. We leave around 9:45, drive an hour and have the privilege of teaching Bible to the greatest group of kids ever. I teach the younger grades (1-4), and my husband teaches the older children. I am so convicted that we need to reach the children of (this country) and have them give their lives completely to the Lamb of God, if we are going to see revival in (this country). The adults are so steeped in "religion" and witchcraft. They just add Jesus to their list of charms. If we can teach the young ones . . . showing to the generation to come, the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done . . . That they might set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments: and not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright and whose spirit was not steadfast with God (from Psalm 78). I have a young boy in my class named E.* Oh my, he is something different! One day, I asked the group of kids how did Jesus know Zacchaeus' name. I got all the typical kid responses. Then I asked E. He answered, "Because He is the very Son of God!" He learns every Bible verse, listens intently to the lessons and just blesses my heart. I feel sure God has great things planned for this young man. The rest of the day is spent fixing lunch, cleaning, working on Bible lessons for other areas of ministry, and fixing supper. Quite often there are those coming to the gate needing assistance, and there is always an opportunity to share the Gospel.  *Name abbreviated.

Wednesday - Work in the church office in the morning and afternoon, make dinner in the evening, and then go to Bible study. (It really looks like very little that I do when written down, but I think my Wednesdays and Fridays are the busiest and craziest days ever!)

My days throughout the week are basically the same right now. My husband has been going to language class, so I will give the schedule since he started that a month ago. When I get up, I make breakfast for my husband, take a shower, then start getting the kids ready for the day. In the mornings, I usually try to do housework (vacuum, clean bathrooms, etc.). While I am doing this, I try to find something to keep my kids occupied (several very small children). It's usually playing with stickers, looking at books, or something like that. About twelve, I start making lunch (our big meal of the day). We eat around 1:00. Afterwards, I wash dishes while the kids play and my husband gets ready to start translation work. At 2:00, the kids will come to the kitchen to play, while I finish things up and my husband begins work. They go for a nap from three until six. During that time frame, I do more housework, but this is the main "quiet time" I have. It could be I have to go to the store during this time as well. (I walk to the store, so I can't take all the kids with me!). After naps, it's time for a light supper for everyone. Then, throughout the evening, I tie up any loose ends (mostly with laundry). Things start winding down, and around 8:00 I give the children their milk for the evening. And 8:30-9:00 is the rest of the bedtime routine (changing diapers, washing cups, brushing teeth, prayer time with Daddy included, then bed!) After that, it's just relaxation time mostly (as long as my baby cooperates).  :-)

Woke up. Fed cat. Exercised. Showered. Personal devotions. Made smoothies. Woke children. Checked children’s hair for lice. Family devotions and practiced special music. Family language study. Began homeschool. Bible study and lesson preparations. Called propane company to refill tank. Went to post office to get mail and send packages. Went to water company for drinking water. Went to the market and stores. Checked homeschool progress. Prepared lunch. Lunch/Listened to and discussed audio Bible with children. Started back homeschool. Cleaned. Finances and correspondence. Prepared materials for Bible Institute. Power nap. Prepared supper and left instructions for children. Accompanied husband to Bible Institute in the village. Took attendance, passed out papers, collected fees, etc. Visited with church members that live in same area. Reminded church staff members of staff meeting and dinner at our house the following day. Returned to town. One of my favorite things of the week: supper date with hubby. Skyped with family, husband’s doctor. pharmacy, and businesses. Read to kids. Prayer and tucked kids in bed. Fed cat. Hubby time. Tucked hubby in early with cough drops, tissues, and water. Worked on a chapter for a fiction story (one of my favorite ways to relax). Personal devotions. Final language study review. Aaaah, my pillow :)

There’s one more post about Missionary Wives to come. You won’t want to miss it! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Missionary Wives Survey, Part 3: What do they do all day?

Photo by: xedos4

Let’s step into missionary wives’ moccasins and see what a day looks like, in their own words. Enjoy!

            “I begin my day by checking our water and power situation. How that changes throughout the day determines what will or won’t get accomplished. For example, the water supply determines what and how much gets washed. And the power supply determines what and how I cook. I might be planning meatloaf for supper but, when the power goes out, it’s hamburgers. My cooker has a gas top with an electric oven. I check my email messages and my Facebook while eating my breakfast and drinking a cup of hot tea. (I’ll also drink a glass or two of water while taking my vitamins.) We have several adult children and some grandchildren, and I don’t want to miss a message they may have sent. I can spend an hour or more with this Internet connection. It works the best for catching up with family in the States. After time on the computer, I have an easy exercise routine. About 20-30 minutes stretching, to help with my neck and back issues, and 20 minutes on the elliptical to help with cardiovascular and muscle tone. I enjoy listening to Handel during this workout time. I’ve got a British version, which has a faster tempo that helps me keep a quicker pace. I use an MP3 player, with ear buds so I don’t disturb my husband in his routine. I’ve got other music loaded but use Handel most often. After my quiet time, I work on household duties. I wash the dishes, since our hot water tank only heats twice in a day, the morning time is for dishes and the evening time is for showers. Then, I work on lessons and study subjects, doing my research for the different lessons and subjects I’m preparing for. I write a blog, so I research for that. I’ve developed a woman’s curriculum for our Bible Institute, though I’m not currently teaching, I do work at revising the materials. We are having a Marriage Seminar, and I’m preparing materials for the time I’ll be speaking with the ladies. I’ll take a break around 4:00 for a cup of hot tea.  Around about 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening is when we sit down to watch a few older TV shows my husband has downloaded from the Internet. Between 6:00 and the rest of the evening, I’ll get supper ready, our biggest meal of the day and the only time I really cook. My husband has the dogs to feed, because we still cook their food. We’ll watch the shows until 9:00 or 10:00 and then go to bed.”

“I typically start my day when my hubby brings me a cup of coffee to me in bed before he leaves to go to the church. After reading email and catching up on the news (1st cup of coffee), I refill the cup and get my Bibles (one in each language) and my notebook to do my daily devotion time. After that time with the Lord, I do 30 minutes of exercise followed by a smoothie. Then I do laundry, grocery shopping, housecleaning, or work at my desk on accounting or grading schoolwork, depending on what needs to be done that day. Our family eats our midday meal together every day around 2:00 or 2:30. So, about 1:30 I begin preparing that. After we eat, we have family devotions and spend usually about an hour discussing a variety of topics. For example, yesterday we discussed Matthew McConnaghey’s acceptance speech at the Oscars (Does it honor and glorify God to thank Him for the opportunity to make an immoral movie?), how to reword a flyer for our church, friends who need prayer for various reasons, the kids’ choices for college, and how to choose a church when they leave home, etc. After lunch, I continue with what needs to be done (shopping, grading schoolwork, cleaning, secretarial duties for ministry or church) until time for a light dinner in the evenings. Sometimes, we watch a family movie or one of the TV series that we like. One day a week, our (child) has violin lessons at our church, so during that time, I do cleaning or whatever needs to be done at the church. We also have an English Bible study one night a week with a married couple. Once a month, we canvas an area with church fliers.”
My husband taught in a seminary on the other side of the city. My ministry there was cooking, shopping, and caring for the MK’s two pet dogs. It was real joy to work with the two male helpers and their sweet families. Joe* and Jim* are so well trained and such genuine Christian gentlemen, I almost got spoiled. One weekend (Joe didn’t work over the weekends), we had visitors, and since there were lots of dishes, I did them up. When Joe came into the kitchen on Monday a.m., he looked at the empty sink, paused with a troubled look on his face and said, ‘You did my dishes!’ The Lord gave me quick wisdom as I realized that he thought I had not been satisfied with his dishwashing during the week! I very quickly reassured him that he did a wonderful job, but I just thought there were too many to leave for him on Monday. He accepted my explanation, and we had many good Bible discussions while I cooked and he cleaned. I never had to worry about any dust on the floors or any furniture!”  
*Not their real names.


Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 
(1 Corinthians 15:58)

Did you enjoy these glimpses into missionary wives’ schedules? Stay tuned for two more posts by these fascinating women. If you missed the first two in this Missionary Wives Survey series, you can see them here and here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Missionary Wives Survey, Part 2: How they help their husbands

Photo by: Sira Anamwong

If you missed the first part of the Missionary Wives Survey, either scroll down or access it here. I know you won’t want to miss any! 

If you had to choose ONE,
what is the most important way in which
you help your husband?

Four ladies specifically mentioned PRAYER as number one. Others said prayer and encouraging him are understood, and they went on to list something else. No one would deny that one of the most important ways we minister to our missionary husbands is through prayer.

Eight of the ladies mentioned ENCOURAGING HIM as being most important.

A new-to-the-field missionary writes, “We're both going to (language) school, which was our goal for the first year. But recently, we were talking, and it came out that my husband needs to go and accomplish something but feels bad leaving me to deal with our toddler all the time. So the best thing I can do is to encourage him to go have a Bible study or go investigate something ministry-related. Then he feels he's accomplishing something (besides language learning!) and I feel like I'm supporting him.” 

Two mentioned PROVIDING GODLY CONVERSATION for their spouse.

Along with encouraging, eight said they believe their number one ministry to their husband is ALWAYS BEING AVAILABLE TO HELP HIM.

"My husband rises earlier than I, so I have the coffee ready for him to turn on in the morning. He works so hard studying and translating, etc., so I try to keep the house running smoothly. I go on visitation with him and also help him brainstorm ideas for our children’s ministry as well as help with music during church services. Honestly, my life is very simple. I spend my days homeschooling, cooking, and cleaning, while often being interrupted by visitors. If the visitors include a woman, then I stop my normal activities and visit with her. Coffee and a snack are usually expected, so always available. I accompany my husband on all his visits and make my home available to everyone and hope they feel comfortable visiting."
“I help my husband by being available for whatever he needs. Part of ‘whatever he needs’ is also remembering that I am first and foremost his wife (and second is a mother). I try to always put him first and have time for whatever he needs. It seems I can never seem to get everything done that needs to be done, but I am available for my man!”

“My husband’s love language is acts of service. So, the most important way I can be of help to him is to serve him in whatever his needs are—whether that is keeping the house clean and his clothes washed, or making copies of church fliers or Bible studies, etc. This may not seem like the most important thing, but in his sight, it is. My willingness to serve him and do whatever task he asks me to do lets him know that I am on his team. I pray for him daily—for his testimony, for his studies, for his sermon preparation, for his language skills, etc.”
Five missionary wives said KEEPING THE HOME (and children) was very important to supporting their husbands.

“I have always tried to maintain a clean and calm home life, and I take care of the schedule so that he is always on time for all he needs to do. I try to be flexible when his schedule changes and to always be ready to go with him when he needs me.”

Two said it was very important to MEET HIS SEXUAL NEEDS. (One said it with a smiley face!)

Many of the women help their husbands in PRACTICAL ways:
  • Office and secretarial work, organization—6 (One calls herself the “activity coordinator” for church and ministry.)
  • Leading the ladies’ ministry—2
  • Organizing children’s outreach, materials, and classes—3
  • Helping husband understand a woman’s perspective—1

“My husband is the idea man. I'm the detailed, organized, planner one. Other than completing the bulk of the administrative/clerical work of our ministry (i.e. finances, correspondence, resource material), I feel that my biggest contribution to my husband is in anticipating and highlighting for him the method by which all his ideas and plans can be accomplished. I'm super left brained, so my ability to hammer out the shoe leather steps and methods by which the logistics of his right brained goals and leadings can truly happen has been a big asset to him. It has been really interesting at times and always fun to see how God put us together, so that we could more fully see every angle of a situation. We work together by each doing what we are best at, and God makes things happen!” 

This missionary wife and mother views her heart as most important:
“Keeping a vibrant, transparent, humble relationship with the Lord every day, confessing sin, repenting and growing in sanctification. Without this, I cannot help my husband.”

There's more! Find out some of the more intimate details about missionary life in posts to come. Feel free to comment about what you enjoyed.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Missionary Wives Survey, Part 1

Photo by: africa

Twenty-five missionary wives responded to a five-question survey. The complete results will be published over the next few posts. You’ll hear from some wonderful women who are serving all over the world.

1. Where do you serve?
Australia, Belgium, Brazil (2), Cambodia, Federated State of Micronesia, Greenland, Japan (2), Kenya (2), Mexico (2), Panama, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, South Africa (2), Spain (3), Thailand, United States (2), Zambia
(NOTE: Some missionaries have served in more than one country.)

2. What kind of ministry?
Church planting-18
Pastoring, mentoring native pastors-4
Tent making-1
U.S. military church-1
School, college, teaching, Bible institute-8
Furlough replacement-1
(NOTE: Some missionaries are simultaneously involved in more than one type of ministry.)

3. What are you currently doing in your personal devotions? 
Eighteen are reading the Bible through this year. Four of those are using a chronological plan.

Do you usually do your quiet time in the morning or evening? (Some didn’t say.)
            Morning: 15
            Afternoon: 1
            Evening: 5

Six ladies are studying a particular book of the Bible.

Three mentioned using a prayer list and/or devotional journal.

One mentioned Bible memorization (a Psalm).

Three women do the same Bible reading plan as their husbands. One lady actually sits across the table from him, and they discuss their reading together.

Missionary wives enjoy reading inspirational books in addition to the Bible for personal spiritual nourishment. These are the books they mentioned:*
            50 People Every Christian Should Know
            Mornings With Tozer
            Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World
            Streams in the Desert
            Beth Moore books
            The Anatomy of Peace
            Becoming a Woman of Beauty and Strength
            Be Committed (Wiersbe)
            A Loving Life in a World of Broken Relationships
            The Resolution for Women
            The Heart of the Shepherd
            The Overflow
            The Knowledge of the Holy
            Choosing Gratitude (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
            The Emotionally Healthy Woman
            A Heart Refreshed
            Lord of Glory (Ray Pritchard, about the names of Jesus)
            A Praying Life

“I have read through the Bible many times, but I love how God always opens up new things each time I read it, no matter the method. I am really enjoying the chronological template, because it is enabling me to make even more connections between so much of what happens to God's people (such as the stories of the various kings of Israel and Judah and especially the connection between the Psalms of David and the situations happening in his life when he penned each one). I also sometimes read a short devotional book.” 

“At the end of last year, I believe the Lord gave me a kind of ‘theme’ for my personal devotions for this year: ‘Zeal for Repentance’ from Revelation 3:19b, be zealous therefore and repent. I read this in my Bible the same day I came across the following quote of evangelist Leonard Ravenhill: ‘It would be a good idea, if every day this year, as far as the Lord lets us live, you asked the Lord, "Have you lived comfortable in me?" You think He is? Would you have to retrace your steps?’ So every day I ask the Lord if He lived comfortable in me today, and when He shows me where I disappointed Him, I zealously repent. Anytime in my Bible reading I come across something to do with repentance, I highlight it in my journal. Or if I come across a Christian quote about it, or something I hear in a sermon. It all goes in my journal. I also read a short devotion out of Mornings with Tozer, albeit not everyday. I have a prayer list that I pray through half in the morning and half at night before I go to sleep. And, I'm reading a book called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.”

"Just a note of encouragement to mommas: as a young or not-as-young mother, I always heard ‘you must have your devotions first thing in the a.m.!’ Made to feel like it was sinful or carnal if this was not done. I had (several) babies, who grew into kids, and for some years it seemed if I even thought about getting out of bed, at least one child was immediately at my side, hence no private time for a good number of hours. Don’t neglect your quiet devotion time with the Lord for sure, but He is available any time of day!"
“When we first got married, my husband and I were reading through our Bibles, but on separate schedules. We decided we wanted to be "on the same page." So, he developed a Bible reading plan for us to read ten chapters a day. I didn’t think it would be possible, but it's been great! We read 8 Old Testament chapters Monday through Friday and 2 New Testament chapters. Saturday and Sunday are different. Saturday: 7 OT chapters and 3 NT chapters. Sunday: 7 OT chapters, 2 NT chapters, and the Proverb for the day. We do it like this, because it allows us to finish the Old and New Testaments at the same time and we can read the Bible through more than three times a year! I have really enjoyed this schedule.”

"Combining devotions with lesson preparation works really well for me. Plus, I feel that it enhances my ability to make the lessons more relevant to the ladies daily lives since I am studying ways to make the portion of Scripture more relevant to my own. I am a total night owl, so, despite numerous guilt trips I was put on by well-meaning preachers in my past, I have settled into a general routine of doing devotions and most of my heavy studying at night. At night, I am not distracted by ‘all that needs to be done today’ and less likely to be interrupted by others, both here and in the States. I also learned a long time ago that I am more apt to remember things that I read and study at night, than things I study during the early morning or daytime. I pray before beginning the day, and I do try to read a ‘devotional thought’ each morning."

*Having not read all of these books, this list is for your information and not a blanket endorsement. I am personally intrigued and will look for some of these titles.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

World Water Day

Photo by: Naypong


It’s vital for life. Some have way too much, and some have too little. I have a friend in Africa who checks her cistern each morning, so she can plan her day. I live where a natural spring furnishes our water, and we use abundant rain run-off for the garden. Some ladies walk long distances with buckets on their heads. Children run to the only pump in town for a drink. In other places, one must only turn on the spigot, day or night. No worries.

I was listening to some comments about World Water Day about the responsible use of water and the redistribution of water.

Jesus also spoke about water. He went through Samaria, because he knew of a woman who needed water. Jesus went to a city called Sychar, straight to Jacob’s well. It was the sixth hour (noon). This is significant, because normally, women went to draw water in the evening, more like six o’clock. Jesus knew when she would be there, of course, because He is God and omniscient. He went to meet her and to meet her spiritual need—her need for water.

The woman goes to the well with a water pot, prepared to draw water. There, she meets a Jewish man. She is surprised when He talks to her. (The Jews did not associate with Samaritans.) He says, Give me to drink (verse 7). She doesn’t understand why a Jew would even talk to her. Jesus understands, and He replies, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water (verse 10).

The Samaritan woman is confused, and she asks Jesus, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? (verses 11-12)

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (verses 13-14).

The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw (verse 15). The Samaritan woman still doesn’t understand that Jesus is talking about spiritual water, not physical water. She thinks it would be great not to have to tote water every day! And, never to be thirsty again . . . .

But, Jesus isn’t talking about that kind of water. He’s concerned with her soul’s thirst. He begins to ask her about her private life. She’s led a somewhat colorful past—having been married five times and then living in sin with a sixth man. And, Jesus knows!

She’s beginning to get it. This man is someone special. She says, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet (verse 19b). But, she isn’t yet completely trusting Him. She tries to embroil him in a religious-ethnic question about where God should be worshipped. Jesus dismisses the question somewhat by pointing her to Truth: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (verses 23-24).

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things (verse 25).

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he (verse 26).

The woman at the well comprehends! She has met the Messiah, and her life will never be the same again. She has to tell someone!

She left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? (verses 28-29)

The woman at the well had spiritual water at last! She would never thirst again. She had tasted the living water. Her Lord had sought and found her. (John 4:4-29)

Besides the story of the Woman at the Well, there are many other biblical references to water:
  • Water baptism contrasted with the baptism of the Holy Ghost—Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16
  • The water baptism of Jesus—Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32
  • Water baptism after salvation—Acts 8:38-39; 10:47
  • Giving a cup of water in Jesus’ name—Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41
  • The woman at Simon’s house used her tears, instead of water, to wash Jesus’ feet—Luke 7:44
  • Jesus and Peter walk on water—Matthew 4:25-32
  • Jesus told His disciples to follow a young man with a pitcher of water—Mark 14:13; Luke 22:10
  • Jesus calms the sea—Luke 8:23-25
  • The rich man in hell wanted water—Luke 16:24
  • Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine—John 2:1-10
  • Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God—John 3:5
  • Jesus heals a crippled man next to the Pool of Bethesda—John 5:1-9
  • He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (heart) shall flow rivers of living water—John 7:38
  • Jesus took water and washed the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper—John 13:5
  • Believers are sanctified and cleansed by the water of the word of God—Ephesians 5:26
  • And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely—Revelation 21:6
  • There’s a river flowing from the throne in heaven—Revelation 22:1
  • And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely—Revelation 22:17

Have you tasted the water of life? Has your spiritual thirst been quenched?

Whosoever drinketh of the water that I (Jesus) shall give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water
springing up into everlasting life.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

They Wouldn't Take Freebies

Illustration by: Salvatore Vuono
  • Chick Fil-A offers free meals to anyone who will dress up like a cow.
  • Brewster’s Ice Cream gives away free cones to those who show up in their pajamas.
  • International House of Pancakes gives free meals to celebrate National Pancake Day.

Several of my family members—I’ll protect the guilty—actually dressed up like cows and in their pj’s to get freebies. (Who wouldn’t do something silly for a chicken sandwich, ice cream, or walk in for blueberry pancakes?)

One of my heroines of the faith is Abraham’s wife Sarah. She had her faults, but she’s exemplary in that she supported her husband, obeyed him, and followed him all over the known world. She didn’t squawk about living in a tent and moving from place to place. God honored Sarah’s godly actions by miraculously making her the mother of the Jewish nation and praising her in 1 Peter 3:6. She lived to be 127 years old, and when she died, her husband mourned her.* The Bible says he actually wept over her. There’s no doubt that Sarah and Abraham had a very special love for each other.

Abraham needed a burial place for Sarah, so he talked to the children of Heth about the cave of Machpelah. Ephron offers to give Abraham the land, but Abraham refuses. Ephron mentions the price of 400 shekels of silver, and Abraham, viewing it a fair price, weighs out the money and buys the field with the cave. Abraham then buries his beloved wife in the cave. (This is the only land Abraham ever owns, even though all of Israel belongs to his posterity.)

David and the nation had sinned against God by numbering the people.* David acknowledged his sin, but it carried a penalty. God let him choose between three punishments: 
  1. Seven years of famine
  2. Running from enemies for three months
  3. Three days of pestilence

David chose the latter, because he knew that God’s mercies were greater than man’s (verse 14). David confesses his sin, and the prophet Gad tells him to build an altar at the threshing floor of Araunah, where the angel of judgment had paused the plague. Araunah offers to give David the threshing floor, oxen for the sacrifice, and anything else he’d require. David says, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel (2 Samuel 24:24-25).

Love demands sacrifice.

Abraham loved his wife and he wanted to bury her in space he had personally paid for. David loved God, and he knew that the sacred altar—for offering sacrifices for sins—required payment. He couldn’t offer to a Holy God that which cost him nothing.

Abraham and David wouldn’t accept gifts, because they loved deeply.

I wonder what we’re willing to sacrifice for love of family? For love of God?

Do we choose the easy way (the freebies), or are we willing to invest in love?

Jesus sacrificed everything for love.
  • The Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20b).
  • And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour (Ephesians 5:2).
  • Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).
  • And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5).

What does love cost?

Love for GodI beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1). I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

A husband’s love for his wifeHusbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself (Ephesians 5:25-28).

A wife’s love for her husbandWives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).

A child’s love for his parentsChildren, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Love requires sacrifice. There are no freebies.

*The story of Abraham is in Genesis 23:3-18. The story of David can be found in 2 Samuel 24:9-25.