Christ Feeds and Cares for the ChurchDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.
This section of Ephesians 5 is based on a commonsensical observation: people nourish and take care of their own bodies. Of course, we can think of instances in which this is not true, cases where people have not fed or nurtured their bodies. But Paul is not worrying about the exceptions here. He is making an observation that is almost always true: “No one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body” (5:29).
As we have seen in previous reflections, Paul’s main concern isn’t with actual bodies and how people nourish them. Rather, he is using the general truth about bodily self-care to reveal something significant about Christ. He feeds and cares for the church because “we are members of his body” (5:30).
How does Christ do this? I’m sure we could think of dozens of different ways Christ feeds and cares for his church. He feeds us by giving us his truth in Scripture. He cares for us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And so forth and so on. But no matter how true these observations might be, we would do well to remember something we found in the previous chapter of Ephesians. There, in Ephesians 4:15-16, Christ is the source of the church’s growth, as each member of the church does its part to build up the body in love. Earlier in Chapter 4, Christ gives gifts of people to the church who equip each and every member to do the ministry, that is, to join in the building up of the body of Christ.
Now, those of us who are husbands shouldn’t get overly literal in our application of this passage to our marriages. I don’t think this passage means I should find people to give to my wife so they can feed and care for her. Rather, it encourages me to see myself in this role. Sometimes I might even feed my wife literally, even though my cooking skills leave something to be desired. More importantly, I can be a source of spiritual and emotional nutrition for her, as I share my life of faith with her and seek to love her with Christ-like love. I can care for her by paying attention to her needs, by listening to her heart, and by choosing to serve her in imitation of Christ. The example of Christ’s care for the church can teach and encourage me as I seek to love my wife in the way of Christ.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of Christ’s feeding of and care for the church, what comes to mind? How does Christ feed and care for you? If you are a husband, how do you feed and care for your wife? Are there other ways God might be leading you to feed and care for her?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for loving your church as you do. Thank you for feeding us. Thank you for caring for us. Thank you for all the different ways you do these things. Today, I’m reminded to thank you, once again, for those you give to your church to equip all of your people for ministry. Thank you, Lord, for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Thank you for nurturing us through them.
Today, I’m also reminded to pray for husbands, including me, that we might love our wives as we do our own bodies. Help us to feed and care for our wives, so that they might grow to become all you have intended them to be. Amen.
It takes work to create good. It takes time and energy and resources and, well, work. Somewhere along the way, you might feel discouraged or worn out or frustrated by the whole thing, so we've asked a few people in The High Calling network to talk to us about creating and cultivating good things. We hope the series, Create Good, inspires you to keep looking up, pressing on, and doing good. We pray you find the inspiration to "not grow weary in doing good." God sees your work. God knows your desire to do good, to create good, to celebrate and cultivate good in the world. God is for you. And so are we.