Where Leadership Begins
by Billy Beasley
Nearly seven years ago, when my wife Julie and I were dating, we knew that we were going to be married. She said to me, “I will want you to lead us. To be the head of the house.”
My response was, “I don’t want that job.” She persisted and after I thought about it for a while, I said, “This sounds good right now, but you are strong and independent and what happens when I choose a different path than you desire?”
She came back a few days later and agreed that I had a valid point, but this is what she wanted. It was how she believed that it should be.
I know there are scriptures about this topic. But in my experience, I saw these scriptures abused by men to get their way. If you are a husband and wife team and you are not discussing all of the important decisions together. You have bigger issues to address than who is leading.
I would wager that while men are elevated to the leadership positions in the church—that in most of the families, as it is in mine—the woman is the stronger person of faith.
One of my favorite Biblical discussions is when we pick one scripture out of a section that reads just how we want it too and ignore those that come before or those that follow.
Ephesians 5: 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
It would be easy for a man to read 23 and 24 and say sign me up. But how many men can live up to 25? I can’t. I don’t. And I adore my wife.
I believe in the scriptures but I am certain God never intended this passage to be so men could wield their power and satisfy their own desires. I don’t think 25 is obtainable but it sure does give men something to shoot for.
Some women will surely say, “No man is going to be the head of me.” I don’t blame them. And sadly, this scripture has been used by men when not only was the woman the person of greater faith in the marriage, she may be the only one of real faith. It was that way in the family I grew up in.
I also believe if you put two people of faith together, as it should be—these scriptures are livable and if men hold their end up, I don’t think that many Christian women are going to mind.
I will be sixty-three when this column posts. Julie and I have a lot of decisions to make about our future. I have taken a sabbatical from serving at church and have not attended regularly. It is easy for others to wonder what is wrong. Nothing. I just sensed I needed a break. A time to reflect, restore, and seek God’s help in our daily lives as well as our future.
During this time, as I seek God’s face. His voice, his direction. I often say, “Lead me to lead this family.”
I know of my shortcomings and I know if He is not leading me as decisions are made about our future. I will fail. I am fearful of being the head of this house and leading it the wrong way.
And a real leader, in any case, cares more about the people he or she is leading than they do their desires.
As far as a husband and wife team, I as many have done, have pursued this idea of what love and romance should be. Maybe we are influenced by movies, people, and our desires.
What do you think real love should look like? Is it lots of trips and romantic dinners? Would it be that somehow you remain in a constant honeymoon phase? Incredible intimacy. Sharing? Growing a family together?
My thoughts on the matter are far different than they once were. The really big decisions made in this life. I consider my wife’s heart and her needs above my own.
And not so I can say, look at how great I am. I know all too well that I am a man who is heavily flawed and scarred.
I am certain that I can’t love my wife as much as Christ loved the church. But if I consider her needs above my own. I believe I am heading in the right direction.
About the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke. They are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC.
Billy is the author of The River Hideaway - a traditionally published work of faith based fiction and the newly published novel, The Preacher's Letter. He shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in this novel. Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’.
You can read his “Sunday Inspiration” column on the 2nd Sunday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.