Marriage and Service

couple holding hands

“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.  So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.  Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:18-24)


 

This passage of the bible looks at the social relationship between Adam and Eve as husband and wife. And the truths derived from this ordinance of God can help us understand other social relationships, particularly business.

God created the world, planted a garden, and placed the first man in it. Then He saw that it was not ideal for man to be alone – he needed a companion.  This expresses an important fact. Man is a social being. He needs others – he needs society. Solomon also spoke of this in Eccl. 4:9-10. And this was a need which the animals, created before man, could not meet. In his comment on this passage, Matthew Henry, the seventeenth-century English commentator and pastor, wrote:

“Though there was an upper world of angels and a lower world of brutes (animals), and he between them, yet there being none of the same nature and rank of beings with himself, none that he could converse familiarly with, he might be truly said to be alone. Now he that made him knew both him and what was good for him, better than he did himself, and he said, “It is not good that he should continue thus alone.” (1.) It is not for his comfort; for man is a sociable creature. It is a pleasure to him to exchange knowledge and affection with those of his own kind, to inform and to be informed, to love and to be beloved… If there were but one man in the world, what a melancholy man must he needs be! Perfect solitude would turn a paradise into a desert, and a palace into a dungeon. Those, therefore, are foolish who are selfish and would be placed alone in the earth.”

God himself established society because he realized it was indispensable for the well-being of the human race. And he created it upon the foundation of marriage and the family. This basic social relationship thus teaches important principles for all social relationships. These are Companionship and Service. Just as the husband and the wife were formed to complement each other, so all relationships have this basic purpose. No man is an island, John Donne said. Each individual is gifted by God differently from all others, and it is through his individuality that he has something to offer his neighbour.  We interact with others, whether in family, club, or business, to meet the needs of one another.

And from this the second principle emerges. We must serve others out of love. This is God’s expectation for the home and, by implication, it is his requirement for every social relationship. When he came into the world, he came not in the flowery robe and gilded crown of a king, but in the humble garb of a servant. He was among us as one who served (Luke 22:27), and eventually humbled himself to death for the ones he loved (Phil. 2: 5-8).

None of the other creatures could supply this need. Obviously, God brought these animals to Adam to see if there could be any that would be adequate as a companion for him. However, none proved adequate.

They were to be companions. The woman was given to man not because she was inferior, but because he was inadequate. He needed her. What he lacked she supplied, and what she lacked he would supply. The key was loving service. This is the rule in marriage and, by extension, is the rule for all social relationships.

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