Sunday, November 11, 2007
SO MOVES THE CLAVIGER BEETLE
(Genesis 1:26-28 and 31 and 1:20b-24, JB; Malachi 2:15, NIV; Mark 10:6-9, NEB)
God did not stop at creating a man; he also created a woman to produce what might be called a divine duet. In creating man and woman, God brought into existence things which had no previous existence. The divine duet formed the crown of creation. Humans were made in God's image, with two sexes. The exalted nature of this relationship is shown by the fact that the two sexes were intended to reflect the relationship between Christ and his church as we discover in Ephesians 5:25-33. Within the bounds of a family God's love can be reflected in a beautiful way. God created man and woman for each other in the divinely instituted arrangement called marriage. God made the family the foundation of the social order, and family ties are sacred and should not be tampered with.
The small Claviger beetle moves inside the ant hill, unalarmed by the fact that ants are one of its most ferocious enemies. The ant hill offers easy access to life's necessities: it's warm inside and the ants stock a variety of tasty foods. The beetle soon stops in its tracks -- it spots a fast-approaching ant, one of the hungry predators that call this hill home. The ant, in turn, stops when it reaches the motionless beetle. But, instead of striking out, it strokes the beetle. A secretion then appears on the beetle's body; and the ant eagerly consumes this and goes on its way, leaving the visitor unmolested. These two species, the Claviger beetle and the meadow ant, have a pleasant arrangement; biologists call it 'symbiosis'. Though they should be enemies they live together in a mutually beneficial way. The beetle gets a warm home with a lot to eat, and the ant has its portable refreshment stand. We might expect the church and family to display some of this, to work together in a sort of social symbiosis. Yet, these two institutions haven't always gotten along so well, nor contributed to one another's welfare as they should. In fact, I know of many church members who have sacrificed their family life to build the life of the church. And it is quite obvious that many churches fail to offer much to enrich their families.
Charles M. Sell, Family Ministry
The problem is not with the institution of marriage. The problem lies with the individuals within that structure and their attitudes toward it. Richard Lessor wrote, 'In the twentieth century it is not a matter of marriages having been tried and found wanting. Marriage is deeply wanted but largely untried.' Today in place of exerting consistent effort and determination to make one's marriage work, the solution is to 'bail out'.
H. Norman Wright, Premarital Counseling
It does not hurt any of us to discover our idols have clay feet. Children can tolerate easily and can genuinely grow from a recognition that their parents occasionally make mistakes, become confused and discouraged, and need the support of others. This may even increase the impact of that which is truly solid about us, that which is genuinely our strength. On the other hand there is no need to suggest that we are 'hollow men'. If this is in fact true, it may be hard to hide anyway, but to reveal weakness of such proportions is not to contribute to the stature of those entrusted to our care.
Armin Grams, Changes in Family Life
But, there is a romance appropriate for every age and stage, and it is vital that we keep romance in marriage if it is to succeed and if we are to achieve happiness for ourselves and our children. We must take real care, lest 'moonlight and roses' become 'daylight and dishes'! A movie star has been quoted as saying that 'marriage kills romance'. That ought not be and is not true if romance is understood rightly. Someone has defined romance as 'a long story of love'. The dictionary defines it as 'a dreamy imaginative habit of mind tending to dwell on the picturesquely unusual'. Both of these definitions are realistically true! Romance in marriage is to be found in the long story of love that began before marriage and found fulfilment after marriage. It is to be found in the wonder of relationships that are colourful, thrilling and practical. The romance of marriage includes all the joys of marriage as well as the hazards. It is a way of life for a couple within the bounds of responsible marriage.
T. Cecil Myers, Happiness Is Still Home Made
Every person needs a sense of personal identity or worth. But we live in a time of great confusion and contention over the question of one's worth. Striking workers insist they are worth more pay. Protesting demonstrators insist they are worth a fairer stake in the economic and social scheme of things. Teenagers insist they are worth more respect and consideration in home and school. Parents feel that they are entitled to more respect. The overall emphasis in much of this is upon one's rights. A person has a certain number of rights which he can claim because he's worth something. God begins at a different point. He begins not with our rights, but with our duties.
Larry Christenson, The Christian Family
Gracious Father, as I share with my family day by day, grant me a much deeper insight into what family life is all about. Help me to set aside my selfish desires and my foolish ways so that I may place my family first and not insist on pushing forward my ingrown plans, thus robbing other members of the family of their due rights as part of the family.
Help me, loving Lord, to see Christ in the other members of my family. Give me spiritual eyes to see their needs, spiritual ears to hear them calling for help when they need it. Prevent me from being so busy with myself that I fail to be aware of the needs other members of my family have.
Strengthen me, dear Saviour, so that I may have the courage to live constantly for you in the family. Make me a stepping stone for my family so that l might encourage them in the things of God. Use me to help my family grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord.
Continue to transform this family, O heavenly Father. Mould them more and more into your will. Build them up this day so they may reflect the life and love of your Son our Saviour. Pour out your Spirit on this family so they may uplift your honour and glory. Amen.
Rowland Croucher, ed., Still Waters Deep Waters (Albatross/Lion) chapter 17