Lionhearted, Lamblike Physical Provision and Protection

I posted last month a quote on biblical womanhood from John Piper’s recent book, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence. To balance things off, I thought it’d be appropriate to post a quote on biblical manhood.  I couldn’t find a shorter, more succinct quote, so this will do.

Piper spends two whole chapters addressing men (ch.6 and 7).  He explains the biblical foundations in ch.6,  practical implications in ch.7, and contends that biblical manhood first entails leadership in spiritual provision.  However, I’d like to highlight a couple things that we might overlook:

2. Leadership in Physical Provision

The husband bears the primary responsibility to put bread on the table.  Again the word primary is important.  Both husbands and wives work.  In all of history this has been the case — both the man and the woman work.  But their normal spheres of work are man: breadwinner; wife: domestic manager, designer, nurturer.

That never has meant there are not seasons in life when a wife cannot work outside the home or that the husband cannot share the domestic burdens.  But it does mean that a man compromises his own soul and sends the wrong message to his wife and children when he does not position himself as the one who lays down his life to put bread on the table.  He may be disabled and unable to do what his heart longs to do.  He may be temporarily in school while she supports the family.  But in any case his heart — and, if possible, his body — is moving toward the use of his mind and his hands to provide physically for his wife and children. (89-90)

Piper goes on to assert leadership in spiritual protection in his third point.  But in the fourth point, he continues:

4. Leadership in Physical Protection

This is too obvious to need illustration — I wish.  If there is a sound downstairs during the night and it might be a burglar, you don’t say to her, “This is an egalitarian marriage, so it’s your turn to go check it out.  I went last time.”  And I mean that — even if your wife has a black belt in karate.  After you’ve tried to deter him, she may finish off the burglar with one good kick to the solar plexus.  But you’d better be unconscious on the floor, or you’re no man.  That’s written on your soul, brother, by God Almighty.  Big or little, strong or weak, night or day, you go up against the enemy first.  Woe to the husbands — and woe to the nation — that send their women to fight their battles. (91-92)

This Momentary Marriage is probably the best book on courtship/marriage/singleness I have ever read.  I highly recommend it: for men and women, married and those not.

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