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As I close our this series of posts, I want us to notice one last mark of a faithful shepherd from John 10. A faithful shepherd sacrifices himself. 

We see this in John 10:11.  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays day his life for the sheep.”  We see it again in verse 14: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Christ, the Shepherd of our souls, loved us so deeply that He laid His life down for our welfare. He saved us from hell, and saved us for heaven. He was willing to pay the greatest cost imaginable – suffering the wrath of God on the cross – that we would be blessed. There is no greater love than this.

Husbands and fathers, this is how we are to love our wife and children. Let’s just think about wives for a moment. People tend to go into marriage thinking about what the other person can bring to the relationship. The man considers his prospective wife and thinks: “She’s pretty,” or “She’ll make a good mother,” or “She’s a good cook.” The woman considers her prospective husband and thinks: “He’s good looking,” or “He’ll be able to support me well,” or “He’ll make a good father.” But when we are looking to get married, we should not primarily ask “What can this person do for me?” but rather, “Is this a person that I can joyfully serve for the rest of my life? Is this a person that I can eagerly sacrifice for over and over again everyday till I die?”

Husbands, we have been called to sacrifice for our wives. We are to sacrifice our time, our money, our desires, and much, much more for her sake.

Dr. Robertson McQuilkin was the president of Columbia International University.  He was a preacher, a theologian, and a writer. Yet when his wife, Muriel, was stricken with Alzheimer’s, he resigned as president of the University in order to better care for the wife he loved.  He wrote in his letter of resignation:

“The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel “in sickness and in health…till death do us part.”  So…as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it.  But so does fairness.  She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of debt…But there is more; I love Muriel.  She is a delight to me – her childlike dependence and confidence in me, her warm love, occasional flashes of that wit I used to relish so, her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration.  I do not have to care for her, I get to!  It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person.”[1]

This is the kind of spirit we are to have in serving our wives. Men, what are we doing that involves sacrifice? What are we doing for our wives that costs us? Are you in anyway denying yourself for the sake of your wife? Does your wife see the sacrificial love of Jesus in you? Can you wife name some way in which you denied yourself this week for her sake?

May God cause to be more like Jesus that we can better shepherd our families for His Name and their highest joy.

[1] Quoted in Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood, p. 30.