Friday, 14 February 2014

How do You Define Love?

“Biblical love is an affectionate disposition that motivates the lover to consistently act for the welfare of another, whether or not the other deserves it or reciprocates.”  Robertson McQuilkin

Robertson McQuilkin
The above definition comes from the pen of a man who exemplified what it means to love sacrificially.  Robertson McQuilkin retired while at the height of his career as President of Columbia Bible College, to care for his wife Muriel who was suffering from Alzheimers.  The definition comes from his book entitle An Introduction to Biblical Ethics. In the very beginning, he explains that as Christians all our behavior must be based on love.

Here is a husband that understood (at least) two things.  Marriage is a covenantal union and love is unconditional.  “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health” are words that appear in most wedding ceremonies.  Robertson’s Board of Directors told him it was time to put Muriel in an institution.  The College, which is now a university, was experiencing significant growth.  I presume much of the fund raising was done by Robertson.  He was clearly doing the Lord’s work.

Robertson had his priorities straight, “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself.”  God first, Muriel second, Columbia Bible College third. 

This story was brought to my mind the day before Valentine’s Day. It provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on how much I love my wife.  How many of us would give up a high profile, powerful position, one of fame and prestige and money to care for someone who rarely remembered your name?   I dare say, not many of us.

In his resignation speech Robertson said, and I paraphrase, “I don’t have to take care of Muriel, I get to take care of her.”  He went on to extol Muriel’s positive qualities, the one’s he remembered and treasured.

Luke 9:23
During one of our Pre-marriage classes I usually read an excerpt from McQuilkin’s resignation letter and it always brings a tear to my eye.  Such a love doesn’t even begin to measure up to the inexhaustible, unconditional love that our Lord and Savior has for us. 

This is a good time for a self-assessment.  Do you love your wife/husband so much that you would give up all that is important to you to care for them?   That is what we are called to do “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, pick up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

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