Please, let us make a small upper room

And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.” (2 Kings 4:9-10)

For today’s MDB, I want to go back to the verses we considered yesterday as we reflected upon the character of the Shunammite woman. This woman demonstrated great humility and contentment, and the Lord rewarded her for it. But for today, I want to consider her husband. Read the above verses and think about the relationship of a husband and a wife. Think about the fact that she could come to her husband with a request, that he listened to her, and he actively supported what she wanted to do.

He was approachable. There are men like Nabal (1 Samuel 25) that were not approachable, but not the husband of this Shunammite woman. They had the kind of marriage where she knew she could come to him with such a request.

He listened to her request. The man could have dismissed her, cut her off, told her her idea was silly or you fill in the blanks. That’s not what happened. They were a team in this marriage, a partnership. He considered her viewpoint, he took time to think about what she was asking. The husband listened to her dreams/visions/plans.

He supported her in what she wanted to do for the Lord. “Let us make…” implies that she wanted him to be a part of this project, too. She didn’t say, “Let me make.” They were a team. It wasn’t, this is “your thing” or “your project,” he was involved also. But to support our wives means more than just writing a check. We need to be emotionally and verbally supportive as well. If he rode her the whole way through the project reminding her of how much it costs and how much of a hassle it is, then that is not supportive, is it? Think about it, she asked her husband to take on a building/remodeling project for a man who would only occasionally come by. I’m sure he could have fired off several practical reasons as to why that wasn’t a good idea, but that’s not what he did. He supported her. That’s what we as husbands need to do, too.

This couple is like the Priscilla and Aquila of the New Testament church (Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19), who showed great hospitality and sacrifice for the church. They were a team and a partnership working for Jesus, and as husbands that requires that we have the kind of heart like his husband of the Shunammite woman. The heart to be approachable, to listen and to fully support our wives.

What it means to visit

James 1:27 tells us to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, but what does it mean to visit someone? We are going to look briefly into how God visits us, and it will help us learn a lesson on what it means to visit others.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27).

How God Visited us

God is praised by David in Psalm 8 for “visiting” mankind. David asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of (visit) him?” This is quoted in Hebrews 2:6 to show that God cared for us and “visited” us by sending us Jesus.

Our Lord examined us with His loving and divine eye, and knew that we needed redemption. He saw the need and took care of it, at great cost to Himself. He did not look at humanity and say, “Boy, those guys are in bad shape, somebody should do something about that.”

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people…” (Luke 1:68-69).

This Greek word for “visit” is used in many other places in the New Testament to praise God for visiting us with a Savior (Luke 1:68,78; 7:16; Acts 15:14).

What it means to visit

I remember being taught this concept by an elder in Columbus, Ohio, named Jeff. He told us about how the word “visit” means to scrutinize with the eyes. Jeff took us with him on visits and he showed us how to visit. For example, you go visit a widow who is struggling. You see that she can’t pay her bills. Her lawn mower is broken down and she can’t mow the yard. She has very little food in the fridge. You turn around as you are leaving and say, “If there is anything I can do, let me know.” Have you “visited” in the Biblical sense of the word?

The word “visit” in James 1:27 means “to look after; examine with the eye; or to go see.” So why would we go see an orphan or a widow and “examine” them with our eyes? Simply put, it is to see how we can help them.

Look at Jesus’ parable of separating the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25). What made the difference between the sheep and goats? Did they “visit” the sick (Matt. 25:36,43)? Meaning, did they look out to fill the needs of the least of the brothers of Jesus?

Take this to heart, men. Let us first understand that we must be active in “visiting” those who are in need. But we also must understand what it means to visit…to look and see how we can be of help. God did it for us.

How do you define abundance?

I heard this true story and I needed to share. There was a lady that decided to personally support a preacher. One hot summer the air conditioner went out on her car and she had to make a decision. She couldn’t afford to fix the AC and continue to support the gospel preacher. So she rolled the windows down on her car and kept on sending monthly support.

“For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality—at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, ‘He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.’” (II Cor. 8:13-15).

I wonder how we define “abundance”? I wonder how Paul would have defined “abundance”? Once my retirement account is where I’d like it to be, or once my vacation is paid for, or once my kids are through college, or once I get the house remodel done, or once my savings account is at a level that I feel secure, or once, once, once…

Too often we define “abundance” as anything we might have left over after all of our wants and desires are taken care of. The problem is that there is no end to our wants and desires. Would we ever sacrifice our comforts so that the gospel of Jesus might be preached? Would we put off a “nice to have” for the needs of others? This is a challenging thought for me today.

How do you define abundance?

Listen to this great sermon Sharing in all Good Things by Ralph Walker

“The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him” (Galatians 6:6).

Preview for next week’s MDB: We will have 5 articles next week (March 28-April 1) by Shane Blackmer devoted to Love in Relationships.