BY DR.JACK HYLES
First Baptist Church
Five messages just as they were preached before thousands of ladies at the nationwide
“Women’s Spectacular” in the auditorium of the First Baptist Church of Hammond,Indiana.
By Hyles-Anderson Publishers
Printed in the United States of America
MEET THE AUTHOR
Jack Hyles began preaching at the age of 19 and has pastored for over 33 years. These pastorates include churches that varied in membership from 19 to over 50,000. All of these pastorates, other than the present one, were in the state of Texas: first, the Marris Chapel Baptist Church of Bogata, Texas; then to the Grange Hall Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas; from there to the Southside Baptist Church of Henderson, Texas; and then to the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas. He pastored the Miller Road Baptist Church for over 7 years and saw this church, under the Lord, grow from a membership of 19 to over 4,000. It was from the Miller Road Baptist Church that he was called to his present pastorate at the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana.
Dr. Hyles has been Pastor of the First Baptist Church since August, 1959. This church has a membership of over 50,000 and has averaged for the past 6 years over 23,000 conversions and 7,000 baptisms per year. For many years the church has been acclaimed to have the “World’s Largest Sunday School.” During Dr. Hyles’ ministry the First Baptist Church has increased in property evaluation to over $21,000,000.
Besides his position as Pastor, Dr. Hyles is Founder-Chancellor of Hyles-Anderson Schools, which enrolled over 3500 students last year. The schools are operated by the First Baptist Church and are housed in separate facilities away from the church property. Dr. Hyles has served as President of the Baptist Bible College in Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Hyles is the author of 29 books and pamphlets, exceeding over 6 million copies in sales. One long-play record by Dr. Hyles is also available, “Let’s Go Soul Winning” (awarded by the Evangelical Film Foundation an Oscar as the outstanding talk record of 1967), as well as many tape-recorded sermons.
Dr. Hyles’ experience covers numerous evangelistic campaigns, Bible conferences, etc. He has preached in virtually every state of the Union and in many foreign countries. His annual Pastors’ School attracts thousands of preachers from every state and many foreign countries.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WOMAN, THE HOLY SPIRIT OF THE
WOMAN, THE COMPLETER
THE CANDLE OF THE LORD
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE
Genesis 2:21-24, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto 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 shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
“Our Heavenly Father, we come to speak on this vital subject. I’d love to be a help and a blessing. I pray that for some ladies this will be life-changing. May we give our attention to this truth and to Thee. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
The Lord chose to compare a family with the Trinity. In so doing, He called the head of the family, the man, after His own name, Father. We pray, “Our Father, Which art in Heaven.” Then He likened the son or children in the family to His own Son, the secondnamed Person in the Trinity. Hence, we have in the family a person who represents God the Father, and we have a person who represents God the Son. By process of elimination, we come to realize who represents the Holy Spirit in the family. There is only one person left, and that’s the lady. That means that you–the woman, wife, mother–represent the Holy Spirit. If you would like to find your duties in life, just find in the Bible what the Holy Spirit is supposed to do. He comforts; so does Mother. He teaches; so does Mother. He instructs; so does Mother. He leads; so does Mother. Think of all the ministries the Holy Spirit has in the world. He’s the unseen One; so is Mother. He is the one Who gives the others attention; so does Mother. If you want to know what your duties are in the family, all you have to do is find out the duties of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, for you are the Holy Spirit of the home.
The week of creation began. First came the light. After the light, God made the firmament. Then God lit the starry hosts of the nighttime in their constellations. Then God made the fishes of the sea and then all the tribes of the animal kingdom. Now creation’s week is almost finished and all is prepared for God to make man. God did make man in His own image.
All that God had made before man was made for man. The stars of the nighttime were placed in the heavens for the enjoyment of man. The herbs and grass of the field were placed there for the nurture and health of man. The water was placed there for the refreshment of man. The sun in the noontime and the moon in the nighttime were placed in the heavens for man. It was marvelous.
Every tree that grew was pleasant to the sight. Rivers flowed peaceably between verdant banks in Eden’s garden. Every sound was a melody and every scene was a delight. There was no war to unrest the breast of man. There was no sickness to cause in his heart a fear of death. The leaf never withered. The wind never chilled. No perspiration moistened man’s brow. There was no profanity to cause discomfort to his ears. There was no weariness, no heat, no cold. No blossoms were ever smitten by a tempest. Man had not yet learned to sigh and to weep. This was the Garden of Eden. God had made it and the entire universe for one person–man! No withering frost to chill the rose and no shadow of guilt was ever felt in the heart of man. For Adam there were choirs of birds to sing. Man had everything he would need, it seemed, in this Edenic bliss and yet something was missing!
Adam needed someone to share with him these beauties. Adam needed someone to whom he could say, “Look at the stars! Aren’t they pretty?” Adam needed someone with whom he could share the joys of the beautiful garden. He longed for communion with a kindred soul, one whose wants and joys were like his own. The virgin world was cold and blank. Adam needed somebody, and God made her, and here she comes dressed in all the beauty for a human being to possess.
Milton said of Eve, “She was adorned with all of heaven and earth that they could bestow upon her to make her amiable.” Grace was in her steps. Heaven was in her eye, and every gesture possessed dignity, poise and love. Perfection was stamped on her. The sons of God shouted for joy, the morning stars sang together, and Eden was transformed. Now Adam has what he needed. Someone wrote, “The earth was sad, the Garden wild, the hermit sighed, till woman smiled.” The work of Omnipotence was finished.
Notice, woman was not taken from man’s head to lord over him, nor from his heel to be crushed by him, but this magnificent creation of Omnipotence was taken from man’s rib, near his heart, so she could be loved and protected by him.
The winds are a thousand times more refreshing now that she is here. The flowers are a thousand times more fragrant now that she is here. The birds are a thousand fold more melodious, the trees are more beautiful, and the fruits are more delicious. The sun is brighter, the moon is more lovely, the stars are closer, the animals are tamer because she is here. There she is–Miss Universe! She was created because all of the perfection of the Garden of Eden did not give to Adam what he needed.
There she stands with the beauty of Sarah as she made Abraham her lord, with the courage of Deborah as she stood beside Barak in the battle against the enemy, with the depth of Hannah as she prayed for and reared her son, with the devotion of Rizpah as she vowed to protect even the dead bodies of her own, with the royalty of Esther as she stood before the king and spared a nation. There she is with the grace of Lydia, the poise of Mary, the humility of Phoebe, the friendship of Dorcas, the faith of Rhoda, the ambition of Salome, the worship of Mary, the care of Martha, and the praise of Mary Magdalene. There she stands, our Miss Universe, with the patience of Anna, the loveliness of Rachel, the love of Jochebed, the gentleness of Elisabeth and the spirit of Lois. Wrapped up in all these personalities is what you ought to be. Take all the good from all the good women of the Word of God and there, dear lady, is what God intended you to be.
Who could have guessed that in the midst of Eden’s loveliness, innocence and peace where angels guarded the gates of the garden and where peace, love and joy prevailed, who could have looked at this magnificent creature of God’s omnipotence and ever thought that evil could find an entrance! In the loveliness of this woman is also the potential for ugliness. In her joy is the potential for sadness. In her grace is the potential for selfishness. In her humility is the potential for pride. In her submission is the potential for rebellion. In her faith is the potential for doubt. Though she is lovely and though all the good qualities of all the women in the Bible are potentially hers, there is another potential that she possesses. She bears in her breast the potential of Michal, who hated her husband and laughed at him because he got happy and shouted when the ark of the covenant came back to God’s people. She can, if she chooses, possess the rebellion of Jezebel, who fell and with her took a nation. She owns the seed of the selfishness of Athaliah, who could kill her own grandchildren for her own rights and privileges.
It’s difficult to imagine that this beautiful queen of the Garden of Eden, the one who filled every need of Adam, could possess in her breast the hatred of Herodias, who had John the Baptist’s head served in a platter! It’s hard to believe that she could be a soiled Rahab, who could sell her body to the hands and lusts of wicked men. It’s hard to believe that this beautiful one has the potential so that her feet could carry her to Moab with Naomi. It’s hard to believe that these lips could possess the potential of lying as did Sapphira. There behind her smile dwells the possibility of hatred and the disposition of Abigail.
Ladies, it is up to you, as it was to Eve, to decide, for there is in your breast all the loyalty of Sarah, the loveliness of Rachel, the tenderness of Mary, the servitude of Martha, the patience of the mother of Christ (His earthly mother), and the gentleness of Rebecca. There is also a bit of Jezebel, Athalia, Michal, Abigail and the others. It is up to you to decide.
Whether it be good or bad, there is one thing that woman always does; she determines the spirit and the atmosphere of any place where she is present.
Woman was not made to till the soil, she was not made to build the house, she was not made to steer the crane, nor stack the brick, nor hew the stones, nor build the road, nor head the state, nor lead the church, nor reap the harvest.
It is woman’s job to determine the atmosphere while the soil is being tilled. It is woman’s job to determine the atmosphere while the house is being built. Though it is not her job to steer the crane, it is her job to make happy the one who steers the crane. It’s not her job to stack the brick nor hew the stone; it’s her job to make a wonderful spirit and atmosphere while the brick is being stacked and the stone is being hewn. It’s not her job to build the road, nor head the state, nor lead the church, nor reap the harvest. Everywhere woman has ever been, it has been her job to provide the spirit of atmosphere while man does his work and changes the course of history.
Woman can make Eden a paradise if she so chooses, or she can curse everything in it, as she did. She can make an ark a lifeboat and the Nile River a nursery if she wants to, or she can curse her husband in Job’s ash heap. It’s her choice! She can ruin a nation as did Jezebel or she can change a house into a church as did Priscilla. She can make a preaching service great by giving all or ruin one by withholding some as did Sapphira. She can fill the house with Mary’s ointment or she can fill it with Michal’s hatred. She can save a nation as did Esther or she, like Jezebel, can destroy one.
Ladies, I don’t think you understand completely how the atmosphere is determined by you.
Much of the atmosphere of Hyles-Anderson College is caused by the lovely young ladies who grace our hallways. Our college was made basically for God’s men. When I was in Los Angeles, California, praying all night one night, God didn’t give me a burden and say, “You need to start a college and turn out some young ladies.” My burden was for God to send us some young men who could go across this country with the fire of God in their breasts and change this country, build churches, call America back to God and fight evil, but we could not have done it had it not been for the marvelous spirit that permeates our campus caused by the sweetness of the “Holy Spirits” of our campus who make it so much sweeter.
We have some fine young men in our high school who play football and basketball, and who are the officers of the classes, but our high school this year has an amazing spirit. Do you know one reason? A group of young ladies determine what it’s like.
Woman’s spirit determines the tranquility of the home, the spirit of the office, the unity of the church, the reputation of the preacher, the health of her husband and the joy of her children. She’s not the one whose name is put in the headlines of the paper. She’s the one who makes man have a delightful place to be. ‘Tis her spirit, her attitude, her disposition.
The little song is true: “Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m blue; my disposition depends on you!” That’s the way it is. You can make your church a marvelous place. You ladies can determine the spirit of your church more than menfolks can, for your spirit determines the spirit of the menfolk. I wonder how many preachers have gone to church and bawled the people out because of some discontent they received from their wives concerning the church while they were home. I wonder how many preachers have kept churches tranquil and serene because of the tranquility they received at home.
Any time a woman is present, she determines the spirit and the atmosphere many times more than does the man. Though she’s not the head, she’s the neck that determines which way the head looks. Though she’s not the arm, she’s the fuel that gives it strength. Though she’s not the strong cedar of Lebanon, she’s the myrrh that makes fragrant the atmosphere. Though she’s not the pillar of the temple, she is the altar of incense that makes everything fragrant within its walls. Though she’s not the harvest gatherer, she is the lily that makes the gathering of the harvest more beautiful as she graces herself in the field.
Woman is the flower on the communion table. She’s the honey at the banquet table. She’s the Holy Spirit in the home, the unseen power.
Man worked before woman came, but man worked harder after she came. Man ran before she came, but man ran faster after she came. Man jumped before she came, but man jumped higher after she came. Man was good before she came; man excelled after she came.
Some women are not listed in the Bible by name–the Shunammite woman, the little maid that pointed Naaman toward the man of God, the widow who gave two mites, the widow at Zarephath, and others. You see, the honest truth is, though you’re not made to have your name in the headlines, break the records, win the wars and fight the battles, God made you for a specific purpose.
Jesus is the One we exalt in our preaching here, but the Holy Spirit gives us power to exalt Him. The Father is the One Who is the great omnipotent God, but the Holy Spirit is the One Who causes our attention to turn toward Him. The Gospel gets people saved, but the unseen power of the Holy Spirit is felt in the services, His power causes folks to walk the aisle; His power causes Jesus to be more lovely; His power causes God to look more omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent; that power causes the church to go out and bring more folks to Christ and draw folks to Calvary; that power is the unseen One, the Holy Spirit! And that’s what you are! You’re the determiner–the unseen one.
When I was a boy my mother used to sing to me in some tune that you would not recognize, for she was possessed with the same musical talents with which I am obsessed! She used to rock me on her knee and sing, “Brighten the corner where you are; brighten the corner where you are; someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar if you brighten the corner where you are!” As she sang it, my father was probably out drunk. We lived in a little two-room shack. Light came from a kerosene lamp, and heat came from a wood stove which was too often empty because we had no wood to place in it.
Mother did not know the story behind the song, “Brighten the Corner.” Years ago a little lady, Ina Duley Ogdon, was given a beautiful voice. Someone asked her to sing a concert tour around the world. She had anticipated the day when she could cover the globe and carry the bright light of Christ through her voice. She had signed the contract; the date had been set for her journey to begin. Just days before her departure, she found her father was taken seriously ill. No one else could care for him; only she! With some bitterness and much disappointment she cancelled her worldwide trip to use her voice to sing the praises of Christ and shine His light around the world!
Ina Ogdon looked at her aged father and saw him as he was nearing death. She realized that she could not take her trip. Her bitterness changed to joy, her disappointment changed to gratitude as she sat down one day and began to write, “Brighten the corner where you are; brighten the corner where you are; someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar if you brighten the corner where you are!”
What the soloist could not do with her journey she did with her sweet spirit as it went from her heart to her mind, from her mind to her pen, from her pen to the paper, from the paper to the hymnbook, and from the hymnbook to the whole world! Not just in her lifetime did she brighten the world, but she will do so as long as the song is sung!
That’s your job–brighten your corner! The atmosphere of the office is determined more by the spirit of the secretaries than that of the bosses. The atmosphere of the home is determined more by the mother and wife than by the father and the children.
Man looks to you first to see in what kind of mood you are now. Your husband comes home at night and one of the first things he wants to know is, “What kind of a mood is she in tonight??’ His evening is brightened or saddened according to your mood! Why? Man doesn’t determine the mood of the house; you do! You are the Holy Spirit of the home.
You won’t get the praises man gets. You won’t get your name in the paper like he does. You won’t get your name honored like he does, and you won’t be as big, as strong and as much of a leader. He is the Father, the children are the Son, but you are the Holy Spirit. The whole atmosphere wherever you are is determined by you.
Did you know that God has made it so that your spirit can overwhelm the spirit of man? He is stronger than you as far as your body is concerned. Your emotions could never do it, because there is more emotional stability in a man than in you, but there is one place where you can always overpower your guy or any guy and that is your attitude, the spirit, the atmosphere!
Sometimes your home is happy; sometimes it’s blue. Its disposition depends on you.
Sometimes the place you work is happy; sometimes it’s blue. Its disposition depends on you.
Sometimes your school is happy; sometimes it’s blue. Its disposition depends on you.
Sometimes your church is happy; sometimes it’s blue. Its disposition depends on you.
If your church doesn’t have a good spirit, it’s more your fault than the man’s. I like this building. I helped to build it. I love it. I think it’s the prettiest building in the whole world and I wouldn’t trade anyone’s building for it. I love this pulpit. It’s the same pulpit I had in the other building; we just put some new wood on the outside of the pulpit. When we meet here Sunday morning, it doesn’t matter about the building, and all of my training and planning for the services doesn’t matter if the Holy Spirit is not here! It doesn’t matter what kind of a guy you’ve got or what kind of kids you have, if the Holy Spirit is not there.
That’s what it’s all about. It’s your job to comfort. Dad’s not a very good comforter; in fact, he’s a weak comforter. Dad’s a horrible spirit-determiner or atmosphere-determiner. He waits on you.
Not many years ago, I think it was in the state of Georgia, a mother and a child fell into an open well. The mother was beneath the child. She held the child up above her and cried for help. For hours that mother was there, just holding her arms up, holding the child above her. When the rescuers came, they found the child was alive, but the mother was dead. They took the mother’s body to the funeral home. The funeral director came to the family and asked, “How shall we bury her?”
The family said, “What do you mean?” The director said, “What shall we do with her arms? ”
They said, “What do you mean, ‘do with her arms’?”
He said, “Her arms are locked in position above her head. We’ll have to break the bones to put them across her breast.”
The family said, “Bury her with her arms up.” As the people came by to view her body at her service they looked at her face, but her arms were raised out of the casket, and that’s how she was buried.
That’s the way it ought to be. Lady, your job is to keep lifting up those who are yours. Your guy and all guys are symbols of the Father; your children are symbols of Jesus Christ; you are the unseen and often forgotten, overlooked, unpraised, but always necessary Holy Spirit!
Think about the songs we sing. “Holy Spirit, breathe on me.” “All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down.” Compare your purpose to the jobs of the Holy Spirit: teach, lead, comfort, encourage, strengthen, help.
I’ll be honest with you. I think you ladies got the long end of the stick. Preachers get on their faces and say, “0 God, give me the fullness of the Holy Spirit.” I think I may get the men to demonstrate to God. We got short-changed in all of this. We’re going to start our own men’s ERA. We build the wall, but you decide whether we smile or frown while we build it. We build the city, but you decide whether we have normal blood pressure or high blood pressure while we build it. We are the ones who build the churches, but you are the ones who decide whether we have tranquility or frustration while we lead. It’s up to you.
Why don’t you say, “My church is going to have a new spirit because of me”? Some of you ought to meet your preacher before he walks out to the pulpit Sunday morning and encourage him. Do what some of our college girls did as they formed a little honor guard behind the platform and began to sing for me about loving the Preacher.
The next time you are prone to think, “I’m not very important; nobody appreciates me,” remember that you are the one in the family that typifies the One in the Trinity that nobody appreciates either. His job is as the spotlight that is covered by the bushes or the ravine, but it shines upon the building so that all may see the building. ‘Tis your job to be the unseen one, that comforter, that Holy Spirit.
Take your Bible, look up the term Holy Spirit, and find all He does. Then resolve that you are going to do what He does. Go alone somewhere, bow your head, lift your heart to God, and say, “0 God, I’m so thankful that You made man in the image of God the Father, and I’m so glad that our children symbolize God the Son, and I’m so glad that You made me a woman, something that the earth had to have, something that paradise could not replace, something that could not be satisfied by the breeze of Eden, the taste of the fruit, the fragrance of the flowers, nor the gentleness of the wind.”
The earth had to have you, lady, just as the church has to have the Holy Spirit.
Get on your knees and say, “Dear God, I am satisfied with my lot in life. I am glad You made me a woman in the image of the Holy Spirit. I yield myself to promise You that everywhere I go the flowers will be a little prettier, their fragrance a little sweeter, the sun a little brighter, the wind a little more gentle, the smile a little broader, the shoulder a little straighter, and the arm a little stronger because I’m present.”
You’re somebody! You are God’s Holy Spirit in the family. It matters not what else you do–that’s your job. It matters not what else you accomplish. That is your job.
Mrs. Evans conducts these Christian Womanhood Spectaculars. To you she seems like a mighty strongwilled person. I don’t see her that way. I see her as, “Whatever you say, Preacher.” “Preacher, you know what’s best.” “Preacher, you’re the wisest.” “Preacher, I’m dumb compared to you.” That’s what it’s really all about.
You carry with you two little dispensers. One dispenser is filled with the most marvelous fragrance and one is filled with a bad odor. You have the potential for making everything around you sweet or foul. We can’t overbalance you. There is no way we can. You give me ten gossipy ladies in a church, and I’ll chase off any preacher in America! Churches aren’t split by men; they are split by women. Wounds in churches aren’t healed by men; they are healed by women!
One day I was teaching a class in a college in Texas many years ago. I was driving down the highway coming home, and the cutest little “cat” came across my path. It was black and white. It was a polecat or a skunk, and I tried to miss him. I didn’t! Not a bit of his Chanel No. 5 touched me, but do you know that for weeks everywhere I went people said, “Whew! My! What’s that odor?” There was no way around it.
You have that potential. It’s up to you.
The Russell Andersons and we were in Nassau, Bahamas. I was standing in a big department store and I heard something behind me going, “Psst, psst, psst.” I thought, “What is that–gas escaping?” Then I felt something trickling down my neck, and Russell Anderson had taken a little sample perfume bottle and absolutely washed my hair in it. For weeks everywhere I went people said, “Ah!” My deacons said, “Ohhh!”
You have both in your personality!
There Miss Universe stands with power enough to complete the perfection of the Garden of Eden or to let the serpent find his way into her heart and destroy and curse all in the garden.
You have that power too. It’s up to you which one you choose. You are the mood-determiner, the atmosphere-determiner, the Holy Spirit of the family.
WOMAN, THE COMPLETER
May I say to you before I begin that I have no desire to scold. I’m going to say some things that will make many ladies disappointed. Maybe you’re going to look back over your life and say, “Oh, I blew it!” I’m not interested in scolding someone who has had any degree of failure. I would be interested in helping many young ladies and those who are still in the middle years of life as well as those of you who are not yet married. I beg your leniency and understanding as I discuss with you this very vital and important subject.
This originated when I was talking to a lady in my study one evening. She was a very unhappy lady, so I discussed with her for awhile her home situation and her marriage. I gave her a little talk. She said, “I have never heard anything like that! I believe my life will be changed tonight.”
I thought that perhaps I should go home and give the same truth to our daughters. So late one night as Linda and Cindy and I were talking, I sat down at the kitchen table and taught them a Bible lesson on “Woman, the completer.”
Would you bow your head and ask God to help me help you?
“Our Heavenly Father, what a responsibility You have placed on my shoulders to discuss such a vital subject. I pray You would give me Your Holy Spirit, power, wisdom and leadership. Give me an alert mind and a warm heart as we discuss together this thing that could well be life-changing for hundreds of ladies, especially those who are young. Help me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Nothing is happy, until it fulfills its purpose for existence. God has made everything on purpose. He makes nothing by accident. Nothing is happy until it finds the purpose for which God has made it. No one is happy unless he finds and fulfills the purpose for which God has made him. We hear talk these days about “I want my rights.” Everybody talks about “my rights, my rights, my rights.” Somebody ought to start talking about “my purpose, my purpose, my purpose,” or “my place, my place, my place.”
You have only one right in life and that is to find God’s will and purpose for your life. Then sit securely and work actively right in the center of God’s purpose and place for you.
For example, God made a bird to fly. If a bird doesn’t fly, it is not happy. A bird can say, “I want to be a fish and swim, ” but a bird won’t be happy swimming. A bird can say, “I want to be a dog and run through the yard,” but a bird won’t be happy running through the yard. A bird is happy only when flying, for God made a
bird to fly.
A fish could say, “I’m not satisfied here. I would like to fly through the air,” but a fish would never be happy flying through the air, for God did not make a fish to fly. The fish could say, “I would like to run through the forest like a wild animal,” but God didn’t make the fish to run through the forest like a wild animal. God has a specific purpose for each of His creatures. Hence, God has a purpose for woman.
Man needed someone to see how fast he could run and to say to him, “You’re a fast runner!” Man needed someone to see how far he could throw the rock and to say, “You’re a good thrower!” Man needed someone to see how much he could lift and to say, “My, you have strong biceps!” But there was nobody. Maybe man climbed to the top of the tree, and he was so proud and so he said, “How did I do?” There was nobody to boost him. God looked around and saw there was no help meet for man.
The Lord said, “The poor fellow needs somebody to be in his corner, somebody to be for him. He needs someone to say, “Hey, that’s fast running! My, what a strong arm you have! Hey, how fast you can climb the tree!”
When I was a little boy I got my first brand new bicycle. I had a little girlfriend named Shirley Warren. I thought she was the prettiest thing in all the world. I wanted her to see how I could ride my bicycle. I rode in front of her house. She came outside and I said, “Hey, look here, Shirley!” I rode the bicycle by Shirley’s house. I went back the second time. I wanted to do better. I said, “Hey, look, no hands!” In front of her house she sat with that adoring, admiring look! That’s why God made women. (Coming back the third time I got up and stood on the seat, and then I ended up on my seat!)
God made woman to sit on the sidelines and cheer when a man succeeds.
Why did God make woman? He made woman to cheer on the sidelines while her fellow made a touchdown. God made a woman to sit in the audience while her husband preaches and say, “That’s the best preacher in the world!” God made woman to stand on the side of the street and watch her little boyfriend ride the bicycle using no hands or standing up on the seat and say to him, “That’s the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life!” God made woman to see her man run the 100-yard dash and say, “That’s the greatest accomplishment I ever saw!” God made a woman to sit on the sidelines and watch her fellow throw a 100-pound stone 50 feet and say, “Nobody else could do it like that!” God made a woman to sit on the sidelines and watch a fellow climb a tree faster than anybody in the world and say, “That’s my man! He’s the best tree climber in the whole world!” That’s why God made woman. He made her to be man’s help meet.
God made woman for man! The word “help meet” means “completer.” God said, “I will make a completer for man.” It is like an incomplete circle. Man has almost all he needs, but there’s something he doesn’t have. God said, “There’s something I’ve got to give to man,” so He took from beneath man’s heart a rib, and from that rib He made a woman. God said, “I want that woman to go to that man, and I want her to complete him.” Man will not be complete until he has her.
No, God didn’t see a child needing care and say, “I’m going to send somebody down to take care of that child.” Now I’m for children! I think they’re wonderful, but ladies, God didn’t make you for your children! No, He didn’t. God didn’t look down one day and say, “Hey, there’s a little fellow down there that needs his diaper changed. I’m going to have to make somebody to go down and complete him.” God didn’t do that.
God didn’t look down and say, “There’s a dirty house down there. I want somebody to clean it. I’ll make a house cleaner.” No, God didn’t make you for that.
God didn’t look down and say, “You know, man needs to love somebody and protect somebody, and I’m going to send somebody for man to love and protect.” No, God didn’t do that either.
God didn’t send you down to be helped; God sent you down to help.
Your husband came home from work one day and you said, “I went to the doctor today.” Perhaps you were knitting.
He said, “Have you got the flu?”
You said, “I’ve got the nine-month flu.”
Up out of the chair he flew! He said, “Wh-wh-wh-what?”
He said, “D-d-don’t g-g-get n-n-nervous. Just s-s-stay c-c-calm.”
You said, “Thank you, sweetheart. I always appreciate the fact that you are able to calm me down.”
Then you started getting sick. Every morning you regurgitated, you got sort of a funny color to your face, and you were even harder to get along with than usual. You started getting bigger! When you sat down you had to spread your legs in order to get up! When you laid on your back you looked like one of the pyramids in Egypt. When you laid on your stomach you looked like a rocker on a rocking chair. Nothing fit, and there was room for only one person in the bed. You had to go sideways through the door. You ate pickles at midnight and watermelon for breakfast and peanut butter sandwiches at two o’clock in the morning. Nobody could get along with you. You remember those days. God bless you. Then one night about two o’clock in the morning (I know it was two o’clock in the morning because all babies are born at two o’clock in the morning!) you reached over to your husband and said, “Sweetheart, the pains are five minutes apart now.”
“He said, “Now d-d-d-don’t you w-w-worry. Everything’s g-g-g-going to be all right.”
You said, “Oh, thank you for your comforting words. It’s so nice to have a man around the house.”
He said, “G-g-get in the car. I’ll g-g-get your suitcase.” He got the bowling ball out of the basement and put it in the trunk of the car. You had presence of mind enough to know what he would do, so you got the suitcase and put it in the car yourself. (He doesn’t know to this day exactly what happened.) You took off for the hospital. You were going about 80 miles per hour in a 30-mile zone and looked up in the rear view mirror and saw the flashing light. The officer pulled you to the side of the road and said, “Hey, are you going to a fire?”
Your husband said, “No, it’s my hospital here. She’s going to the baby to have a wife. I mean, no, no, it’s my baby here. She’s going to the wife to have a hospital.”
The policeman was a nice man and said, “Yes, I think I understand what it is.” (He had probably been there before.) He said, “You follow me,” and he gave you a guided tour to the hospital.
They rolled you through a couple of doors, and you were apprehensive, for maybe it was the first time you had ever done this. You went into the room, and there was the nurse and the doctor and maybe a hypodermic needle. Maybe they put you to sleep a little bit, maybe not, and soon you felt pain like nobody has ever felt, the like of which no human being ever feels in all the world. After awhile there was a little cry and they rolled you to your room. It wasn’t long until they brought that little one to you. You held the baby to your breast, and that little, blind, wrinkled, ugly rascal started hunting for his supper. He had enough sense to want to eat as soon as he was born. As he fed from your own body, you said, “That’s flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone and blood of my blood,” and oh, how you loved it! What a sweet time it was, but that’s not why God made you. That wasn’t the most important day of your life. You did not fulfill the purpose for your being a woman that day! No, you didn’t! God didn’t look down and say, “I have a baby that needs feeding; I’m going to send someone down to feed it.” God did make it so you could bear children, but God didn’t make that the main purpose for your existence. You can be a good mother and be a failure. You can be the best mother in the world and be a failure. You can be the best mother who ever lived. You can be a Susannah Wesley, a Jochebed, an Elisabeth, and a Mary all wrapped in one package, and still be a failure.
Nothing is ever completely happy or content or finds fulfillment until it fulfills the purpose for its existence. You say, “Well, I’m going to rear my children.” Go ahead. That’s okay with me. I think you ought to rear your children. Yet it is not as important as being the kind of wife you ought to be. God made woman for man. God made woman for man to be a help meet for him.
God didn’t look down and see a hungry family and say, “I want someone to feed them,” or a dirty house and say, “I want someone to clean it,” or a little kid and say, “I want someone to rear him.” No, God looked down and saw a man that He had made. He saw an incomplete man. God saw that man could not make it completely by himself. He saw that man was not a self-contained package. God saw that man could not sustain himself by himself and God said, “I’m going to make somebody to complete him. Man has a subject but no predicate. He has a noun, but no verb. He has three sides, but no completed side. He is a circle not completed. He is a two-sided triangle. He’s a three-sided square. There’s something missing in man.” So God made you to complete man.
If that be the case, then in a sense God made you to be the aggressor. Yes, woman is the weaker vessel, but man is the less complete vessel. Woman is the weaker vessel, but man has more need than woman does. Did you know you can stay at home at night by yourself and not be as scared as your husband would be if he stayed at home by himself? That’s true. I dare you to check it. Some of you stay at home alone with the doors unlocked. It is a different story when he is by himself. He probably has the police number written down by every telephone in the house! Why? Man needs you more than you need man. Man has the engine and the gasoline but he doesn’t have a starter. You don’t have an engine, and you don’t have the gasoline, but you have the starter! If you don’t believe it, tickle him under the chin and see if you don’t start something! He has the engine. He’s got what it takes, but he needs someone to start him, somebody to prod him along, somebody to complete him.
Let me put it this way. Woman comes to an incomplete man, completes him, and then receives the benefits of his completeness. Woman comes to an incomplete man and completes him; that’s her job–to be the aggressor, to lead him to become a complete man so he can lead her, but he needs woman to start him! Then after woman completes man, she receives the benefits of his completeness!
Some of our college girls made a list of “the ten things I want in a man.” A girl’s list might have included these qualifications: 6’3″, handsome, compassionate, strong, tender, etc.–that’s what she wants in a man. If you ever found a fellow with all those things, he wouldn’t need you!
Some lady says, “Oh, he has everything!”
No, he doesn’t have everything! No man has everything! If he did have everything, he wouldn’t need you. I think the best thing for you to do is find someone who doesn’t have everything, and then help him get everything. That’s why God made you.
1. Complete him in his work.
If your husband is a carpenter, go look at the house he built and say, “Did you all build that? My, my, my, let me see your big old bicep!” (You may not realize it, but those old southern belles had something on the ball.) You should say, “That’s the prettiest house I ever saw. My, did you build that?” That’s what you’re supposed to do–cheer on the sidelines.
By the way, if your husband is a carpenter, you learn what a 16d nail is. Learn what an 8d common nail is. Learn what a 8d casing nail is. You learn what a 2″ x 4″ and a 2″ x 8″ are. Know what Sheetrock is. Find out what kind of roof is put on a house. Why? God made you to complete that man, that’s why!
You say, “I want a strong leader.”
Someone says, “I want a great lover.”
Make him a great lover.
“I want a great, successful man.”
That’s why you’re there! You’re there to complete him, finish him. God made him, but he wasn’t complete. So the Lord says, “I want someone to complete him.”
11. Complete him in his play.
Complete him here also. When your guy is watching a football game, share it with him. When his favorite team wins a game or makes a touchdown, you should cheer! When he looks around and says, “That was great!” you ought to be there to say, “Sure was!” You ought to be able to say, “You know why they got that touchdown? Because they red-dogged on that last defensive play!” Red-dogged? Yes, you ought to know what red-dogging means. No, it doesn’t mean squirting ketchup on a mutt in the front yard! You ought to know.
Listen, if your husband likes baseball, learn baseball. If your husband likes to fish, when he pulls up that little old 6-inch fish you should say, “Man, look at that whale! ” That’s why you’re here.
You say, “I’m just not that type.
I know. You’re not the happy type either.
“I’m just not made that way.”
I know. We’re all pretty bad. We’re supposed to straighten up ourselves!
You say, “You’re just trying to help the men.
No, I’m not. The first thing I said was that nothing is ever happy until it fulfills the purpose for which it was made.
“He never brags on me,” you say.
God didn’t make him to brag on you. Now don’t misunderstand me. I think it’s fine if he does, and I think it would be nice if he did, but that’s extra. The “bread and beans” of this is that God made YOU to brag on your man!
“Well, I’m not going to listen to all that junk.”
Don’t call it junk. I didn’t write it. I’m just telling you what it says. God says, “I need a completer for man.”
Complete him in his play. Complete him when he catches a fish. When he hits a ball, say, “Let me feel your arm!” I’m saying, spoil him rotten! That’s why God made you.
Man is a vain creature. Men like to say, “All in the world my wife does is primp, primp, primp!” I dare you to time the two of you. I dare you to put a timer on the old man and one on the old lady and see who takes longer!
I use Command hairspray on my hair. I spray one hair and then I spray the other one! I part my hair in the middle–in the middle of the two hairs. I don’t comb my hair; I place it. I get it all placed. Each hair has one little spot where it’s supposed to go. If one hair is out of place, it makes the whole skull shine through. If one little hair is sticking up, I work on it. I’ll get my comb out and put that hair back and spray it right quick.
You say, “Why?”
Men say, “I don’t use face powder.”
I do. I use after-shave talcum powder daily. Why? I don’t want my nose (or my head) to shine.
What I’m saying is, man is a vain person. Man is vain because God made him vain. A man can do more if he is vain. When a man is running for a touchdown and a little gal on the side is saying, “Rah, rah, rah! Run, Goerge, run!” George will run faster because of that yelling on the side.
The tragic thing is that before marriage it’s, “Run, George, run,” and after marriage is, “Get, George, get!” There’s something wrong about that. Keep hollering, “Run, George.” That’s why God made you. Complete him in his play. There’s nothing in the world that masculinity hates worse than to fail. A real man would rather die than fail. Now it’s your job to see that he doesn’t fail. If your husband fails, you are part of that failure. You must bear the responsibility of it because God has made you to help and complete him.
You say, “I’m looking for a certain kind of man.” That’s like a doctor looking for well patients, a plumber looking for a house with no leaks, a mechanic looking for an engine with no knocks, a cobbler looking for a shoe with no hole, or a barber looking for a man with no hair! You look for God’s man and then help to make him what God wants him to be.
This is every man’s right. Each has only one life to live. God looks down and sees that every man is incomplete. God gives a man a woman, and that woman is supposed to complete that man. If you fail to do it, it won’t be done. If he dies without ever having it, it’s because you didn’t give it to him. You have taken from him what is every man’s right. Every man’s right is to have a completer. That’s why God made you!
A lady came to my office not long ago and I gave her this truth. She said, “I’m not going to do all that stuff.”
I said, “I’ll give you an alternative suggestion.”
She said, “What?”
I said, “Go over here to the bridge over the Chicago River and jump off.”
“Go jump in the river.”
I said, “You’d go to Heaven, and your husband wouldn’t have to live in hell!” Listen to me, especially you young ladies, you unmarried ladies, you ladies who haven’t been married long. I’m trying to help you. I’m not trying to take any freedoms away from you. I’m trying to give you a liberty that you’ll never enjoy unless you become what God has made you to be.
I said to that lady in my office for counsel, “Look, you are standing in the way. Your husband is a good man. He’s not going to have anybody else. You’re standing in the way of your husband ever having a completer. You’d be a lot better off, young lady, in the early days of your marriage, if you would go over and jump off the bridge so your husband can have in his lifetime someone to complete the circle.”
Ladies, most of your husbands are fine men. Wouldn’t it be a shame for your guy to live and die without having what is his rightful heritage? How pitiful! How tragic! I wish I could help you realize the purpose for which God made you. I wish I could get you to get to your man and help make that man all that God wants him to be. Complete him. Then you’ll know what it is to be happy.
Do you know what these women’s libbers are? They are a group of confused women trying to find happiness and failing because they are searching for it outside of God’s Word and God’s plan.
You say, “I have my rights too!
No, you don’t. Not yet! A woman does not have any right in this world until she’s done this. You check in the Bible. Always in the Bible the first command is to the follower. In Ephesians 5:22, for example, it says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.” Then in verse 25 it says, “Husbands, love your wives.” Who’s supposed to start it? The wife!
It says in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents.” Then in verse 4 it says, “Fathers … bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
What does it mean? God gives the command first to the follower. He says, “I want the wife to do her job first.” That means you have no rights until you do your job. That means He wants the child to obey first. That means He wants the child to obey even if the dad is never the right kind of dad. That means a child is supposed to obey, regardless!
For example, it says in Ephesians 6:5, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters.” Then in verse 9 the masters are exhorted to be good masters.
God always puts on the follower the burden of having the initiative and being aggressive. Wives, you do it first. Children, you do it first. Servants, you do it first.
Somebody says, “I want a man already made.”
There’s no such thing as one already made.
Somebody says, “He doesn’t help me at home.”
He wasn’t made to help you at home. If he wants to help you at home, that’s a pretty good bonus, but it is not part of God’s plan. I’m not saying it is wrong for him to help you at home, and I think it may be good for him to help you at home, but it is not in the Book for him to do so.
You were made for him; the man was not made for you. Man’s main business is outside. Woman’s main business is inside. Man’s main business is not the woman. Woman’s main business is the man.
You say, “He doesn’t give me as much attention as I give him.”
The Bible doesn’t say he’s supposed to do that. Let me put it this way. You be what you ought to be so you can make your man to be what he ought to be to you.
This is why girls should be taught to cater to their dads. Girls who cater to their dads make better wives. A little girl should bring her dad’s houseshoes to him. The mother should teach her to do it. The daughter ought to be taught that if Dad’s tea glass gets half empty, she should fill it and cater to him and spoil him.
This is important, not for Dad’s sake, but the girl’s sake.
When Cindy and Linda were our only two children home, they catered to their dad. They spoiled me! They liked to do nice things for me. I enjoyed it. I wanted my girls to get accustomed to spoiling a man so they could spoil their husbands. I wanted them to get in the habit of supplying Dad’s needs so as to practice for marriage. I enjoyed their spoiling me, but that wasn’t my goal. I had ten thousand times rather my daughters be good wives than good daughters. If each daughter will make some man a loving, completing, spoiling kind of cheering wife, I’ll feel then that the girls are what God wants them to be.
I have always preferred that our daughters sing in duets rather than solos. I want them to blend. That’s why I’ve always been pleased when they accompanied on the piano rather than play piano solos. I’m not against ladies singing solos. I thank God for the ladies who sing solos in our church, but I think for every solo a lady sings she should sing a thousand times where she blends. That’s why I’ve always wanted the girls to play doubles rather than singles in tennis. From the time they were little I’ve wanted them to share, be part of a team, boost a team image, and be a part of boosting someone else. That’s why I wanted them to spoil their dad. I never much care if they win any beauty contests. Your main job in training a girl is not to help her be happy when she grows up. Your main job is to train her to know how to make a man happy when she grows up. Then, and only then, will she be completely happy and fulfilled.
You say, “Brother Hyles, how can I do it?”
The best way is by example. Young ladies, have you a child in the nursery now or one in the Beginner or Primary Department? The best way to train those little girls to be a help meet one day is for you to be that right now.
“How can I get the girls to watch the tea glass?” you ask.
You watch the tea glass.
“How can I get the girls to spoil their future husbands?” you ask.
You spoil your husband.
There ought to be some place where every man can go where he is a hero. I mean, he is the biggest guy in all the world! He’s the most handsome guy in the whole world. He’s the strongest man alive. There should be some place he can go, a refuge, where he can feel that he’s really somebody. Every man has a right to be a hero to somebody! For every man God has made somebody to make him a hero.
How does your husband feel tonight? How does your guy feel? When your guy comes in the house, he ought to feel like a conquering hero coming home. He has a right to it! That’s why God made you!
God made a man and said, “That man needs someone to think he is the greatest thing in the whole world. That man needs someone to help him. That man needs someone to complete him.”
Without a completer man will never achieve what he could have achieved.
You say, “Brother Hyles, I’m not married. What can I do?”
You can be a Viola Walden, a Fairy Shappard, a Maxine Jeffries. Maxine Jeffries, the lady who oversees all our ministries to the handicapped, is one of the most feminine ladies I know in the whole world. Now Maxine weighs a “little” more than 110 and she has not won a beauty contest. She’s not Miss America. (She is to some of us!) She’s one of our staff members. She is in her40′s. Maxine has never married, but she is a help meet to God’s man!
Miss Viola Walden was with Dr. John R. Rice for over 40 years as his administrative assistant. Many years ago a doctor fell in love with her, and he asked her to marry him. Miss Viola went to Dr. Rice and said, “Dr. Rice, how long do you think I’ll work for you?”
Dr. Rice said, “As far as I’m concerned, you have a job with me as long as you live.”
Miss Viola went back to the doctor and told him, “I don’t believe God wants me to marry you.” Miss Viola has been a help meet to Dr. Rice all these years. She has been a helper and a completer to his ministry.
A woman should be a help mate by nature! I teach our high school and grade school lady teachers that the boys in their classes should feel more masculine when they are around them. When I was a little boy, my mother used to say to me, God bless her, “Son, would you get this pickle jar open for me?” I would open the pickle jar. (The next time when Mama didn’t know I was nearby, I would see her open it just as easy as I did.)
Mother used to say, “Son, would you get this window unstuck for me?”
She would say, “Son, Daddy isn’t home, and it’s so nice to have a man around the house!”
The simple truth is, my mother was feminine. She still is. When I’m in my mother’s presence to this day, I feel more like a man than I do when I’m not in her presence. She’s in her nineties, but she’s feminine. She’s a help meet.
A sister ought to be that to a brother.
You say, “Oh, brothers and sisters fight.”
They shouldn’t! I wish you could see the poem Cindy wrote about David when he got married. Cindy happily worked for her brother at the Youth Center. (Bro. Dave is our Youth Director.)
Even if you don’t get married, the right kind of woman will still be a help meet. I think that’s what femininity really is. Being feminine is not being a wallflower, a weakling, or a little dainty weakling. Being feminine is being a strong completer, one who is strong enough to do it alone but lets “him” do it and lets “him” get the credit for it. It’s the kind of woman who can beat him at Ping-pong but never does!
I was out playing golf with Evangelist Jim Lyons one day. He had never beaten me. David was only seven years old, and he went with us. Brother Jim got ahead of me by three strokes. He had a short putt to beat me. Dave was crying because his daddy was getting beat. As Bro. Jim pulled the putter back, Dave yelled, “HEY!” Jim jumped and hit the ball across the pasture! It took him seven strokes to get in the hole, and I beat him by four strokes!
That’s the way every girl ought to feel about her dad, her husband and her brother if she is a completer.
One of these days all of us are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. God has given you one thing to do in life. There is an incomplete circle. It lacks a part. God made you to add that little part. You can make all the circles you want to by yourself, but God won’t reward you unless that circle is complete. Woman is the completer.
Several years ago Dr. John Rice, Bill Harvey and I were in a conference at the First Baptist Church of Temple Heights in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Rice and I were the featured speakers. At noon on Tuesday we had a steak dinner for all the preachers and their wives. Dr. Rice, singer Bill Harvey and I were sitting at the head table along with the staff members of the church and their wives. All of a sudden as we were eating steak, I heard someone choking badly. I looked! One of the assistant pastors had turned completely white, and he began to run toward the door. The door was locked! Suddenly we realized what had happened. He had a piece of steak caught in his windpipe. We all tried to help him and failed. Folks were frantic. He was about to die. All of a sudden his little wife jumped out of her seat and stuck her finger down his throat and pulled out a piece of steak! That’s why God made woman. He made woman to be the one person who can complete man and make him what he ought to be.
God has given most of you a man. Your man is not complete. He is not even the aggressor yet. One of these days when you stand before God, the dear Lord is going to judge you according to whether you completed that man that God gave to you.
I want you to have the very best. I want you to have the happiest life and the sweetest eternity, but you never will until you become that thing for which God made you. No creature that God has made will ever be happy or useful until that thing which is its superior becomes its master.
God’s purpose for you is to be a completer. Woman was made for man, not for children, not for a house, not for cooking; she was made for man!
Be a completer.
In the Song of Solomon 6:8 there is a little line which says, “There are threescore queens.”
“Our Heavenly Father, I pray today that You will speak to our hearts in an unusually sweet and, yes, in a quiet way. May the Holy Spirit hover near to this platform, to these pews and in the hearts and lives of Thy people, especially these dear ladies. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
It is the first Saturday afternoon of the world’s existence. There is no television, so there is no Saturday afternoon football (for which you would be grateful). Adam is watching God’s creation. He notices something unusual. He notices that the fish swim in the water by twos. He scans the sky to find the robins fly in the air by twos. He notices the squirrels playing on the meadow, and they are playing by twos. He notices the beasts of the field as they roam through the forest, and they likewise travel by twos. He then drops off to sleep and awakens to find Eve, the fairest and best of God’s creation!
There are those who would lead us to believe that woman was an afterthought of God. There are those who would lead us to believe that God created everything and was displeased because there was something He forgot to create–something He didn’t do exactly properly, so in order to correct His mistake, He created woman. There she was, thrown in as creation’s bonus, on the side, sort of as an afterthought of God. That isn’t true! Did you know that woman is the ultimate creation of God? She was an independent creature and, by the way, could have lived alone. The Bible never says, “It is not good for woman to be alone.” (You wish you had known that years ago, don’t you?) The Bible says, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Be reminded, man was created before woman. In God’s divine order, He increased the importance and magnitude of the creation with the passing of the days.
Somebody says, “Oh, but man is more important than woman because God created man first.”
Apply that to all of creation, and the hippopotamus is more important than man because he was created before man. No, God did not create that which was most important first and least important last, but creation kept gaining in its importance as God created the earth, the moon and the stars, animal life, man, and then, woman. She was the last of God’s creatures and, of course, most complete.
God calls her a queen–not a queen like the queen of Sheba, or Esther, or Athalia; not a queen like Elizabeth of England or Mary of Scotland. A queen is not made by scepters of diamonds, thrones of marble, robes of velvet, crowns of jewelry, imperial wardrobes, courtly attendants, cheering subjects or royal carriages. The queen that God created waves a needle for a scepter, sits on a rocking chair for a throne, wears righteousness for a robe, has the needy for her subjects, and wears meekness for a crown!
This loftiest of all God’s creatures does not rule the world; she rules those that will rule the world. This highest of God’s order does not rule subjects; she rules rulers of subjects. She is not the king, but she prepares him to rule. She is the queen of kings. She is the lordess of lords. She is the most royal of all.
Where does this queen rule? She rules at the hearth. She rules at the stove. She rules at the bedside. She rules at the table.
In the places that woman rules, man is incapable of ruling. I said awhile ago that man should not be alone. The honest truth is, there is nothing more pitiful than a man living alone. Leave your husband alone some night and he will hear all kinds of noises. By the time you get home, he will have the chairs against the doorknob, and the next morning he will call to order a burglar alarm! Now, you can stay at home with the doors unlocked and it doesn’t bother you a great deal, but for the old man, it is not good that he be alone. His hand is too rough; his foot is too clumsy; his patience is too thin to rule where you rule. We men just can’t do what you can do.
You could go to our youngest daughter, Cindy, who is married and is now expecting a baby. If you took off her shoe (I don’t remember whether it is on the left or right foot) and take off her stocking, you would notice there is a space between the big toe and the one next to it. That is because one day when she was very young, I tried to rule where it was none of my business to rule and I didn’t know how to rule. I put the elastic part of the sock down between her big toe and the one beside it, and it stayed that way all day lone! She was very small when it happened, but to this day (she is 21 years old), there is some extra space there! All the other toes are together, but the big toe on that foot is all by itself. I am saying, I was ruling where I don’t know how to rule!
You could rule on man’s throne. If you’d seek it as some females are seeking it in the Equal Rights Amendment, you could do what we do. Queens have ruled countries, but men have never ruled kitchens. Women can fill the shoes of men, rule on their thrones, wield their scepters and wear their robes, but men are incapable of ruling where women should reign. If we tried to have an Equal Rights Amendment, we couldn’t rule in your domain. We’re not qualified. How roughly we tuck you in bed! How loudly we talk by the sickbed! We stick the thermometer in the ear. We just can’t do what you can do! We have to have somebody else to be a queen. God made you to be that. You, the loftiest of God’s creatures, and therefore the last creature that God made, are of necessity, queens who rule on a throne where nobody else can rule.
A boy sticks a nail in his foot. He doesn’t cry, “Daddy!” (Daddy would in turn cry, “Mother!” or “Doctor!”) Daddy just wouldn’t know what to do. The boy cries, “Mommy!”
A little child is lost downtown in the great crowd of shoppers. He doesn’t cry, “Daddy!” He cries, “Mommy,” because when anyone wants help, he wants the “top man.” He wants the expert! He wants the queen!
The child awakens at night with his brow warm, his throat sore and his head aching. The faint cry from the child’s room is not “Daddy!” It is “Mommy!”
It is Monday night. You are dutifully watching Howard Cosell. You could care less. To you, a “split end” is caused by dry hair, and a “quarterback” is a refund from Montgomery Ward. You know nothing about what is going on, but with your dutiful spirit you say, “I like the guys in the red uniforms. They are the prettiest.” You cheer ignorantly, but you cheer faithfully because Monday night football isn’t much, but it beats the divorce court by a lot!
The football hero comes to the bench. He has just run 90 yards for a touchdown. He is a big, burly guy. He has a beard sticking out under his helmet. He looks like the “incredible hulk.” He weighs 250 pounds. All of the players on the other team tremble as he runs on the field. He comes back to the bench. They mob him, tackle him, take off his helmet and rub his hair, and this big beast suddenly finds the television camera is pointed at him, so he says, “Hi, Mom!” It’s always that way! You never hear one say, “Hi, Pop.” I don’t care if its “Mean” Joe Green or Walter Peyton, it’s always, “Hi, Mom.”
What’s he saying? “Hi, queen.” “Hi, ruler.” “Hello, your majesty.” “Hello, the only person in the world who has ever conquered me.” “Hello, thou who didst make me what I am.” “Hello, thou who didst care for me when I was a child, who fed me from your breast, who carried me in your own womb, who nurtured me when I was sick, who stayed awake at night and cared for me when I was ill, who mopped my fevered brow … hi, Mom.” That’s what he’s saying.
I was reading in II Kings 4:18-37 and I was amazed at the boy who was in Shunam in the field working. I’m sure he was there with his dad. He got sick unto death, and the Bible tells us that the father said, “Carry him to his mother.” Now the old man was right there, but he said, “Carry him to his mother.” I imagine it was the Shunammite dad who carried the boy. Why didn’t the boy sit on his dad’s knee and say, “Dad, I don’t feel well.” Because dads don’t make you well! Dads don’t make you feel better! Dads don’t know how to mop your brow! They drown you when they mop your brow. They don’t know how, but there is a queen who knows how. She rules at the bedside, she rules at the table, she rules at the hearth, she rules at the fireplace. She is queen!
Oh, the loving hands that bathe the temples, the loving voice that speaks good cheer, the loving lips that speak comfort, the loving hands that rub the back, the loving fingers that bring the socks, slippers, bandages, the warm drinks, and the warm bread!
It’s midnight. Mom and Dad are both asleep, and the cry comes from the child’s room. Dad just changes his key of snore. Mother gets up gently so as not to wake up Dad, feels the fevered brow, takes the temperature, bathes the brow in cold water or gives the baby a bath in rubbing alcohol and is tempted to drink what’s left! She kneels beside the bed and whispers a prayer for God to take care of her baby. The baby whimpers. The mother holds the baby near to her breast and weeps as she walks the floor and paces all night long. She tries to go back to bed. When she has been asleep for five minutes the child says, “Mommy, I’m hot!” and Mommy goes back again.
When morning comes, Dad awakens so refreshed! He looks over to Mom and says, “Did you get a good night’s rest? It sure was a good night to sleep, wasn’t it?”
You say, “Yes!”
He says, “Why are you so grouchy?”
You’ve been reigning. You’ve been performing your queenly tasks. You’ve been wielding that thermometer as a royal scepter and sitting on the chair beside the bed as a queen on her throne.
You’ve just been through nine months of misery. I mean you doubled your size, had splotches all over your face, haven’t felt good for nine months, and now the baby is two weeks old. He has the colic. You get up at night. Your husband snores. All night long you rock the baby. You try everything. You try breast feeding her; that won’t work! You try formula; that won’t work! You try homogenized milk; that won’t work! You go milk the old goat (not your husband); that won’t work! You go down and get a carton of Pepsi, and that won’t work! All night you’re up. Then when the alarm goes off, your husband gets up and says to you, “Wasn’t God good to us in giving us a baby that sleeps so soundly!” (You contemplate murder.) Why? You’ve been ruling on your throne. You’ve been rearing a king. You’ve been nursing a great businessman. You’ve been taking the temperature of a great man of God. You’ve been warming a bottle and feeding a giant tycoon. You are ruling in your domain. Nobody else can do it!
Kings can pass away; other kings can rise. Presidents can go, and other presidents can come. There’s always a king to take the place of one, but there’s nobody to take the place of the highest of God’s creation.
Just as I walked out of my office the Holy Spirit gave me an illustration. Somebody slipped a letter under the office door. I’m not going to give you any idea who wrote it, but it was from one of our men who is rearing his child by himself without a queen. He talks about Hammond Baptist High School’s homecoming football game.
(I was one of the cheerleaders. Someone made a sweater for me just like ones the cheerleaders wear! It had “Class of ’44″ on the sleeve. It had “Preacher” written on the back. I had pompoms and white tennis shoes trimmed in blue. When the cheerleaders came running out at the first of the game, I came lumbering out with them and led a few cheers. We had a band at halftime. Band music was played over the loud speaker, and some of the staff men and deacons of our church had band instruments and pretended to play. I had a trumpet solo! John Colsten, our Associate Pastor, and John Penley, one of our deacons, were the “majorettes!” They did a twirling demonstration, and everybody had a lot of fun! Our team won, by the way.)
Here’s a letter I got awhile ago.
“Dear Pastor Hyles. Thank you for arranging the last two football games that were played at night. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have been able to go see the games. The last time I attended a football game was in 1962 when I was an undergraduate at the University of California (Cal beat Washington 38-14). Brother Hyles, thank you for treating us each to a hot dog and root beer.
(It was men’s night, and we gave all the men and boys free hot dogs and root beer.)
“You can tell Brother Colsten and Brother Penley and all the members of the First Baptist Church Marching Band that I appreciate their making fools out of themselves…
(We really didn’t make fools out of ourselves. We just revealed that we were fools all along!)
” . . . in that bitter cold night to entertain us. God bless you all. I just can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the night. I just never get to do anything like that. I was wishing I had a son to bring to the game, though. It helps me to have a little more wisdom, I think, in knowing my daughter when I get a chance like I did last night to see the young people with whom she spends most of her time during the day. I got to hear them and observe them firsthand. I sure wish I could just one day go to school with her and sit in every class and see her interact with her teachers and fellow students. I think it would help me understand her better and help her more.
”Ever since June I have had to work ten and one-half hours a day, six days a week and haven’t been able to spend much time with my daughter. I just get to see her briefly in the morning and listen to what happened at school and read her the Bible and teach it to her at night, and I’m so far behind in my housework.
(It’s a shame. He’s rearing his daughter by himself.)
“Brother Hyles, I heard you say at K. K. Colsten’s marriage to the Cliver man that you had prayed for K. K. more in the years than you had for any young person except your own. I’m nowhere near the man Johnny Colsten is, and I don’t have an Elaine Colsten to help me do the job, so since you would pray for K. K. Colsten, would you please pray for my daughter that she would turn out right and become the lady God wants her to be. I need help. I think I am going to fail in the end unless I get special help from God.
“I’m hungry for the supernatural too. Brother Hyles, I wish there were someone who has had to live the life I have for the last eight years. Such a person could understand my frustration. I’m often at my wit’s end. I wish you understood what I’m talking about. I don’t see how single women rear children alone.
“I can’t do it. It’s driving me batty. I wonder if I’m going to make it. Let me tell you how much I appreciate the time you spent in the Sunday school lesson from Proverbs 7. Needless to say, I have already taught the lesson to my daughter, and Sunday isn’t even here yet! I’m going to review it with her on the way to church Sunday. Pray for me, please.”
Do you know what that fellow needs? He needs a queen. He’s ruling in a domain where he doesn’t know how to rule. It takes a higher creation of God. The fellow that was created first can’t do it. It takes the lady that was created last, God’s highest creation, God’s mightiest potentate, God’s most powerful ruler–that’s the one that’s needed.
Oh, the beauty of such a queen! It’s the beauty of the soul shining through the face.
The saddest sight in all the world to me is a woman who has spent her youth worshipping her beauty and her face. Her charms begin to vanish. She tries to cover the wrinkles and hide them, and yet when time’s harsh footprints step on her face, the footprints remain, and she cannot hide them. However, time’s foot cannot change the beauty wrought by kindness, compassion, faith, love, gentleness, meekness and goodness. When the color has left the cheek, the beauty has fled the face, the luster has escaped the eye, the spring has parted from the step, the crow has lighted on the sides of your eyes and left his imprint, and when the caulking can no longer fill up the cracks, there’s a beauty that remains in the life of one who has ruled well that wrinkles cannot tarnish. This queenly beauty cannot be dispelled by years; it does not escape because of time.
Some of the most beautiful ladies don’t have enough money to get a hairdo at the beauty shop. Your dresses are hand-me-downs. You pray every night, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take, and thank God for garage sales! Amen.”
You’re lovely! Many of you are too old to pass for 39, but you’ll never admit your age. If you admitted you were 60, we wouldn’t believe you. You’re beautiful. You have the beauty of one who has sat on a throne.
I got to talk one day to Harry Truman. He lived for a time after he escaped the White House. I was flying from Kansas City, Missouri, to Chicago and got to talk to him for about an hour. You know, there was a glow about that man. There’s something about a man who has once been President who used to be the leader of the country and who now is not.
Have you ever stopped to think about this? When the Bible talks about the beauty of Jesus, it doesn’t say His hair was coal black. When the Bible talks about how beautiful Jesus is, it doesn’t say His hair was golden blonde. No, when it talks about the lovliness of our Saviour, it says His hair was white as snow!
The most beautiful women I know are women whose faces have been stained by the marks of time, whose shoulders are drooped and whose hands are somewhat palsied, but they have been queens. They sat on thrones, wielded scepters, ruled their own and have fulfilled that marvelous purpose for the highest and loftiest of creations.
Yours is a lofty calling. Yes, you have your rights, and if you want to, you can fight for them. You can get equal pay for equal jobs. You can put on your pants and go to the steel mills, factories and automobile plants and go to work. Yes, you can be the mayors of cities, the governors of states and the presidents of lands, but whatever throne you trade for your present throne will cause you to take a step down, for she who rules from the bedside ruleth the greatest!
On Mother’s Day, 1975, I sat in my study about daybreak and I was thinking, as you do on Mother’s Day, about the past. I tried to write a poem about Mother, but I couldn’t.
We had an old red chair at our house. It was a round chair. The back came up high enough to hit you in the middle of your back. It had little slats in the back. It wasn’t beautiful, but it was the only chair where Mother held me when I was a child. We kept it for many years. So I decided to let the chair write a poem. This poem was written by Mother’s old red chair:
I’m not one of the better styles,
But dear old Coystal Mattie Hyles,
Used me to rear her son.
No French Provincial snob am I;
I’m just an Early American guy
Who’s seen some victories won.
I’ve been a psychiatric couch
And heard old Jack cry many an “Ouch!”
As o’er her knee he lay.
She’d cut a limb from off the tree
And lay on stripes that all could see;
She reared her boy that way.
This was the style in days of yore,
And ’cause of all the fruit it bore
I’m glad I had a part.
And then she’d lay a limb right here
And bow her head and shed a tear,
I felt her broken heart.
I’ve rocked so often through the night,
While Mom would watch through candlelight
And feel a fevered brow.
I watched her patience hour by hour,
And witnessed all her queenly powers
As on her knees she’d bow.
I’ve been a pulpit many a time
As Rev’rend Mom on me would climb
To preach a sermon or so!
She’d stomp, and rant, and weep, and rave;
She had a son to try to save,
And show the Way to go.
I was a bank for many years
Where Jack deposited doubts and fears;
I interest always paid.
Tho I’ve not rocked in quite a while
Because my type is out of style,
By me she always prayed.
I’ve been empty for many years,
And tho I’ve shed so many tears,
Memories warm my heart.
For many years from in the loft,
I’ve praised the Lord and shouted oft,
“I’m glad I had a part!”
Mother’s old red chair was all those things. It was a psychiatric couch. It was a doctor’s office. It was a judge’s bench. It was a lawyer’s stand. It was a preacher’s pulpit, but the main thing about that old red chair is that it was a throne–a throne where I saw a queen rule her household.
Mom’s old chair was a throne where she sat and reigned as she helped Lorene, a little afflicted daughter, for seven years. It was a throne where she held the body of that daughter when it ceased to breathe and had to be laid in baby land at the age of seven. It was a throne where she held the fevered brow of little Hazel, the next child, who said, “Mommy, I feel like I’m going up in the air to be with Jesus,” and she did go up in the air to be with Jesus, and for the second time, Mother held the lifeless form of a daughter as she sat on her throne. It was a throne where she prayed and ruled with dignity and where she sat as a queen with a beauty that time could not erase, tears could not wash, trials could not mar, wrinkles could not fade and years could only enhance.
I envy you. I’m only the second echelon of creation. God made me next to the last. He had the main event coming up later.
You could do what I can do. You ladies could preach as well as I am preaching now, but I couldn’t rule where you rule and I couldn’t reign where you reign. My hands are not tender enough. My voice is not soothing enough. My patience is not thick enough. My endurance is not long enough. My love is not tender enough. My voice does not coo enough. My legs cannot walk enough.
I take off my hat to you and bow in your presence, thou of royalty. My charge to you is that you go back to your home and realize the position that God has given to you. Grab your scepter!(It may be a spatula, a stirring spoon or a paring knife.) Look at it and say, “You’re not a paring knife; you’re a scepter.” Wield it with all the dignity of royalty. When you get up in the morning and put on that old greasy bathrobe(one that has been saturated by every liquid known to mankind), wishing that on Mother’s Day someone would buy you a new robe because this one is 18 years old and isn’t going to last much longer, look in the mirror and say to yourself, “The queen is wearing her robe!”
Go downstairs, read your Bible, and sit on that chair that your husband bought for you 38 years ago! See the stuffings escaping held down only by your presence, which, by the way, holds it down well! Sit up straight, hold your spatula in your hand, look at your old greasy robe and say, “I’m a queen.”
At the educators’ convention in the state of North Carolina, I preached on the importance of being a Christian school teacher. Most all of my audience was composed of school teachers. I said, “What an honor to be a school teacher–a Christian school teacher! Walk out of here when you go back to your motel room, walk up to the clerk at the desk and say, ‘Hey, buddy, do you know who I am? I am a Christian school teacher!’ Walk down the street and stop a cop on the street corner and say, ‘Hey, buddy, do You know who I am? I am a Christian school teacher!’”
When I finished preaching, one of the school teachers came up and said, “Would you sign my Bible?”
I said, “I’ll be glad to.”
The school teacher said, “Now would you want me to sign yours?”
I said, “Why?”
The teacher said, “Do you know who I am?”
(I still didn’t get it–I looked dumb, which is no problem for me!) I said, “No, I don’t. Who are you?”
To my delightful surprise, the teacher said, “I am a Christian school teacher!”
I said, “Would you sign my Bible, please?”
As you ladies are driving home and you stop to get gasoline, tell the gas station man, “Hey, do you know who I am?”
“I am a queen. I rule a country that David could not have ruled and the Caesars could not have ruled and where Darius and Cyrus would have blundered.”
“What country do you rule?”
“I rule at the hearth!”
THE CANDLE OF THE LORD
I am going to talk with you for a while about the secret of happiness and fulfillment in any relationship. You will find a philosophy here that could well change any relationship you have. Proverbs 20:27, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” I want you to notice that little line, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.”
“Our Heavenly Father, for the next few minutes I am going to take one Scripture, an object-lesson Scripture that You’ve given us, and teach a lesson that could save dozens of marriages and prepare for dozens of others. I pray that You will help me know exactly what to say. Now, Lord, I don’t have time to say all I want to say, so I’m going to have to have wisdom to know what to pass over. I pray You would help me to stop and park when I need to emphasize something. Give me Your leadership and help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
An unlighted candle is standing in darkness. Someone comes to light it. He takes a force and the candle yields to it. When that candle yields to that force, it burns, gives light, and fulfills the purpose for its existence. Unlighted, the candle is not fulfilling its purpose! Lighted, it becomes that for which it was made; it performs the duty for which it was made; and it has fulfillment in its purpose in life.
Don’t forget, the Bible says, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.” I’m glad about that, because God is light and God is fire. When God would manifest Himself on earth, He would do it by sending fire from Heaven. God was a pillar of fire by night. When Jesus spoke to the disciples going to Emmaus, they said, “Did not our heart burn within us?” So when the spirit of man yields itself to the fire of God, only then does he fulfill the purpose for his existence. We’ll say several things about the candle and the fire.
1. When two things are made for each other, neither is complete alone. The fire was made for the candle, and the candle was made for the fire. The candle is not complete, for it is alone; and the fire is not complete, for it is alone. Until the fire comes in contact with the candle, the fire is not complete and the candle is not complete.
The candle is a symbol of the spirit of man. Until man’s spirit comes in contact with his Creator and comes in perfect union with that Creator, it is not complete and man is not fulfilling his purpose in life. Man is not complete without God. The Christian is made to yield himself to the Holy Spirit.
2. Fulfillment comes only when the weaker substance renders itself submissive to the stronger substance. When these two get together, the fire doesn’t become a candle; the candle becomes a fire. Nothing is ever happy or complete in life until that something yields itself to the superior force for which it was made. Every problem that man has comes from this one error: The weaker does not yield himself to the stronger. The wax must acknowledge that the flame is superior. Hence, it yields to that which is superior and in so doing becomes the best candle it can become and fulfills the purpose for its existence.
In every relationship this is true. A child gets in trouble when he doesn’t yield himself to his mother and father. A human gets in trouble when he doesn’t yield himself to his God. A Christian gets in trouble when he doesn’t yield himself to the Holy Spirit. A citizen gets in trouble when he doesn’t yield himself to his government. A church gets in trouble when she doesn’t yield herself to her pastor. A wife gets in trouble when she doesn’t yield herself to her husband. Every human problem is caused originally because that which is inferior and that which is subordinate refuses to yield itself to that which is the stronger or the superior.
In the Bible the burden of initiative is placed first on the follower. The Lord says, for example, that husbands are supposed to love their wives, but He first says that wives are to submit themselves to their husbands. He starts with the wife. He starts with the follower. Why? Followers make leaders more easily than leaders make followers. So God comes along and says, “Husbands, love your wives,” but first He says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands.”
Think about a child and his parent. The Bible is going to say to the father, “Provoke not your children to wrath, but rear them in the nurture and admonition of our Lord,” but He first speaks to the child. The first command is not to the father; the first command is to the child: “Children, obey your parents.”
God knows it’s more important to have the right kind of follower. A good follower will follow even if he doesn’t have the right kind of leader. A weak father can have a submissive child if that child is admonished first to submission. The Lord speaks first to the child and then to the parent. He speaks first to the wife and then to the husband.
God wants to tell the employer to treat the employee right, but before He ever does that, He goes to the employee and says, “You be a good servant.”
It is a greater sin for the wife not to be submissive than for the husband not to love. It is a greater sin for the child not to obey than for the parent not to rear him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is a greater sin for an employee not to treat the employer right than for the employer not to treat the employee right. God puts the first admonition and the first command on the inferior to obey the superior. A human is supposed to come to God and accept Christ, and that initiates salvation. So, a child is to obey his parents even if his parents are not what they ought to be. An employee is supposed to work hard even if the employer is not what he ought to be. The citizen is supposed to obey the government even if the rulers are not what they ought to be. The church is supposed to obey the pastor even if the pastor is not as strong a leader as they perhaps think he ought to be. A wife is supposed to submit herself to her husband even if he is not as strong a leader as he ought to be.
Only when that which is inferior yields itself to that which is superior does that which is inferior become fulfilled and happy. This kind of fulfillment comes only when the weaker substance renders obedience to the stronger.
3. The candle is usable only when it is lighted. Young ladies, the Lord puts the big burden on you. Mrs. John Rice says that when a couple has trouble, it’s 90% the wife’s fault. One time I asked her, “Why?”
She said, “The husband’s job is outside the home, but the wife’s job is the home. The husband’s main duty in life is to work somewhere outside the home, but the wife’s job is the home.”
That means, wives, that you are going to be happy only when you have yielded yourself to that superior force. You have no other chance in this world to be happy. You’ve got to come and say, “My husband is the fire, and I’m the candle. I yield myself.”
An unlit candle is bigger than one that is burning. The one that is burning will not be big for long; it is giving itself. It’s absolutely burning itself out, but it is fulfilling its purpose; the unlit one is not. It may be prettier, it may be bigger, and it will even last longer, but the unlit candle is not fulfilling its purpose! It represents a woman who says, “He’s not going to tell me what to do!” The unlit candle represents the ERA.
The candle was not made to be pretty; it was made to burn. The candle was not made to decorate; it was made to burn. You can put lipstick on this candle, but it won’t be pretty. You can put rouge on this candle, but it won’t be pretty or fulfill its purpose. You can put a pretty hat on this candle or dress it in the prettiest dress known to designers, but it won’t be happy! A candle is happy and fuliflled only when it is doing the thing God made it to do. It doesn’t matter what the candle does. The candle can join the P.T.A., but it won’t be happy. The candle can go to the beauty shop once a week, but it won’t be happy. The candle can take Dale Carnegie’s course and yet not be happy. It can lecture on ERA, but it won’t be happy. The candle can learn to play the piano, but it won’t be happy. It can learn to make a speech, but it won’t be happy. The candle can even teach a Sunday school class, but it won’t be happy. It can even have a bus route, but it won’t be happy. The candle can even be a soul winner, but it won’t be happy. Why? The candle was made to submit itself to its superior force and thereby give light to those who are all around it. So, a candle is usable only when lighted.
Let me read you a letter I received in the mail. Here’s a typical example of a candle which did not yield itself.
“Dear Dr. Hyles. I am 24 years of age. I am a preacher boy whom God called to preach six months after I got saved three years ago. I felt led to go to a certain Bible college in a certain state. I attended there until God called me to pastor a small church. I was ordained. From there, God led me back to a certain city in a certain state where I got saved under Dr. Joe Doe. (I’m using ficticious names.) I worked on the staff of Dr. Doe for that summer and started to go to the Letot Bible Institute that fall. As I started to go to school that fall, I got a full-time position in a church as assistant pastor and youth director. While I was in a certain state, I met and married a wonderful girl, a spiritual girl, a girl that loved Jesus Christ. As we lived in Letot, I was working for a church in a certain place. I seemed to be getting away from soul winning and getting deeper into the books. After awhile I was not doing what God wanted me to do and what God made me to do. I was not knocking on doors and winning people to Jesus Christ. My not being the man of God I ought to be affected my marriage. It affected my marriage to the extent that my wife told me at one time that if I didn’t become the soul winner that God wants me to be, she couldn’t respect me as a man of God, and she thinks. . . .”
Here’s a husband that was not yielding himself. God had called him to be a soul winner. He was made for that purpose. He refused to be that soul winner that God had called him to be. Everything went wrong then! Why? God called him to preach!
You nag your husband out of the ministry, and you’ll lose your husband and your own life and your own joy!
God called him to preach. His candle was made to be a servant of God and to be a soul winner, but his wife talked him out of it. His candle was not yielded to the superior force and her candle was not yielded to the superior force. The letter continued:
“One afternoon as I was leaving from school, my wife and I seemed to be in the flesh. We didn’t have devotions that day and pray as we usually do. I walked out of the house without telling her I loved her and without telling her good-bye. As I got to school, I felt bad, so I called on the phone, and there was no answer. I knew something was wrong. I drove home immediately and found my wife had committed suicide.”
This was a preacher boy in a college. His wife said, “I want you to be a soul winner. I want you to do what you were meant to do,” but he didn’t do it, so she said, “I’ll not respect you until you do what you’re supposed to do.” He was not submitting himself to the superior force over him, and she was not submitting herself to the superior force over her, and in so doing, he lost her!
“As we had her funeral in her hometown up North, I went a half hour early before her relatives and friends viewed the body. I walked in and put my head on my wife’s chest in the casket and was hoping that she would lean up and hold me, kiss me, cuddle me, baby me and tell me that she loved me, but she wasn’t there–she was with the Lord. I then fell on my face before the casket and talked with God. Something happened to me there that I can’t explain, but for once in my life I had the full power of God, but what a price to have to pay! As her friends and relatives came by the casket, I stood there like a soldier witnessing and telling them about Jesus Christ. I feel, Dr. Hyles, that God is leading me to Hyles-Anderson College to learn more about Him and learn more about character and discipline and be the man that God wants me to be.”
Any young man married to a beautiful woman would love to be at home more and not be out on the battlefield serving God. Any young lady in the flesh normally would want her husband home, but God made God’s men for Himself. I’m not saying a man should neglect his home. I’m not saying he should neglect his children or his wife. I am saying that when it comes to the place that the man is not what he ought to be and his wife is not what she ought to be because that which is weaker has not submitted itself to that which is stronger, then neither one is happy and neither of them is fulfilled!
4. The candle is beautiful only when it is lighted. Do you want to be pretty? Do you want to be lovely? Then be submissive. Helene Curtis does not make any cosmetic that compares to submission when it comes to make a lovely lady. Avon knows nothing that can compare to submissiveness when it comes to putting beauty on a lady’s face.
I am thinking now of a preacher’s wife. She had only average beauty. She was a nagger. She complained, “You’re not home enough! You’re gone too much! You don’t love me or you’d stay home at night!” (Maybe that’s why he didn’t come home!) One week he had gone on a trip to preach. He came home about two o’clock in the morning, and the lights were on in the house! The preacher couldn’t understand what was happening. He went inside the house and found his wife sitting in the living room fully dressed as if she were going to church. He said, “What’s wrong? What are you doing up at two o’clock in the morning?”
She said, “Go back and get in the car.” They both got in the car. Then she said, “Now drive me to the church.” He drove her to the church. She said, “Now pull up in front of the church in the parking lot. Get out. Take the key and unlock the door to the church.” He did. She said, “Now turn on the lights,” and he did. She said, “Now come with me to the altar,” and he did. She knelt at the altar and placed her hand on the head of her husband and said, “Dear Heavenly Father, I lay my husband on the altar tonight,” and gave her husband to God! In so doing, she got a better husband, but something marvelous also happened to her!
The next time I saw her,immediately I said to myself, “She is beautiful!” I never noticed her being very pretty before. I didn’t know all that had transpired! I said to myself, “Good night! She’s a pretty woman.” I couldn’t believe it. I asked her, “Have you lost weight?”
She said, “No.”
“Have you changed your hairstyle?” I asked.
“What have you done to yourself? You look like a different person.”
“Do I look better or worse?” she asked.
“I’ve never seen anybody look so much better!”
She said, “I’ll tell you why.” She told me the story about how she took her husband to the altar and put her hands on his head and gave him to God. She said, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Do you know why? She had submitted herself to that superior force.
5. The candle not only is more beautiful when it is yielded to the superior force (now I’m going to get a little frank), but it is the warmest! Do you know who the frigid women are? They are the unsubmissive ones. I’ve been counseling for over 30 years as a pastor. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many men have come to my office and said, “My wife is not passionate. My wife does not enjoy romance.” I don’t know how many women have come and said, “Pastor, I’d like to enjoy romance, but I just don’t. Just to be quite frank with you, my husband doesn’t turn me on.”
Do you know why? The unlighted candle is always cold. The candle that has submitted itself to the superior force is the warm candle.
I have counseled with hundreds of ladies who don’t even want their husbands to hold their hands or couldn’t care less. Each of them would like to thrill when her husband holds her hand. Each one would like to thrill when he kisses her, but it doesn’t work. They say, “What’s wrong with me?”
I never work on the biological end of it; I work on the submissive end. It is as natural as can be that when the candle comes in contact with the fire and yields itself to the superior force, the warmth will take care of itself. Physical love, romance, if you please, is far, far sweeter to that young lady or woman who submits herself to the superior force for which she was made. The candle is warm only when lighted.
6. The candle is fulfilled only when it is giving itself. A lighted candle could say, “All I am is a slave!” or “I’m just burning myself out!” It could also say, “I am fulfilling the purpose for my existence.” An unlit candle has no marks up at the top; it has no melted tallow coming down the side; it is straight, but it is not fulfilling its purpose. A burning candle may even have a little bit of a bend and may be marred, but it has fulfilled its purpose and in so doing, it has given of its life!
The lighted candle may have dishpan hands, but it has given itself and so it’s beautiful and happy. It may get a little extra wrinkled because it has worked so hard, but it has given itself and fulfilled its purpose in life.
Mrs. Charles Hadden Spurgeon in the latter days of Spurgeon’s ministry became an invalid. Her husband was in the peak of his ministry and was traveling much of the time. Mrs. Spurgeon became a bit bitter. Someone came to her and said, “Mrs. Spurgeon, what’s your trouble? You’ve lost your glow.” Mrs. Spurgeon complained that she was in a wheelchair, an invalid, in bed much of the time, and that Charles Spurgeon was gone most of the time. Then somebody came to her one day, talked to her, and said, “Mrs. Spurgeon, Charles Hadden Spurgeon is the greatest gift that England has! Won’t you be the greatest giver that England has? Because your husband is England’s greatest gift, you can be England’s greatest giver,” and that did it! Mrs. Spurgeon, it is said, gave her husband. In giving her husband, she gained her husband, and she got more attention than she had gotten before. She got more affection than she had known before. As she sat in her wheelchair and as she reclined on her bed, she had a look of peace and beauty because she had given herself and her husband for England.
Young ladies, make your husband the greatest gift you can make of him. Give him to God. Then one day when you die you can say, “I finished my course.”
A rebellious wife is never a happy wife. A rebellious child is never a happy child. A rebellious citizen is never a happy citizen. A rebellious church member is never a happy church member.
A horse that is not broken is not a happy horse. A horse is happy only when it has been broken and then yields itself to the tender tug of its master who pulls the reigns. The horse whose master can order and command him gets more affection than the horse that pulls back, bristles and bucks. There comes a time in his life when he says, “I’ll yield. I think I’ll be happier when I yield to the tug of the one who pulls the reigns.” That’s the kind of horse whose master strokes his mane. That’s the kind of horse whose master pats his face. That’s the kind of horse whose master pats his side. That’s the kind of horse whose master combs his mane. That’s the kind of horse that is happy.
The happy child is the one who yields himself to the will of Mom and Dad. The happy citizen is the one who yields himself to the will of the government. The happy church member is the one who yields himself to the leadership of the pastor, and the happy wife is the one who yields herself to the will of her husband.
Here’s the tragic thing. If you want to, you can wait until you’re 25 years old to get saved, and you can still burn for Jesus after you’re 25; you’ve got as much a chance to burn for Him, but you can’t burn as long for Him. You can decide to wait to yield yourself to the superior force until you’re 35, and you can still have just as bright a light, but you can’t burn as long. If you care to, you can wait until you’re 45 before you decide to yield to the superior force (whether you’re a citizen or a child or a wife or a Christian) and you can burn just as brightly, but you can’t burn as long. You can wait until the senior years of your life and waste the whole life and you can still burn as brightly as ever, but you can’t burn as long.
Come to Christ in the early years, when you’re young. Give Him your life. Yield to His leadership and let that which is superior become master!
While you’re young, say to the man God has given you, “You do the will of God for your life, and I’ll give my life to you.” When a man submits himself to God’s calling, and his wife yields herself lovingly and submissively to the one God has chosen, then both can shine brightly together and fulfill the purpose of God for their lives, but neither will be happy, useful, usable or fulfilled until that which is inferior yields itself to that which is superior.
If you’ve found the man for whom you were made, you’ll never be happy apart, but together you’ll never be happy until you have yielded yourself to become all he would need. Then in turn the young man says, “You have helped make me what I am, and I’ll be thoughtful and considerate of you.”
I never have understood why people want to fuss. I’ve never understood why anybody would want to be unkind to anybody else. All of our fussing, complaining, griping, arguing and feeling selfish lie in this one truth: That which is inferior or weaker has not submitted itself to that which is stronger.
That’s the trouble with the hippie. That’s why the hippie tried liquor, long hair, blue jeans, then one kind of dope, then the needle, then the pill, then the upper, then the downer! Why? He has not yielded himself.
That’s why rebellious children aren’t happy, and that’s why unsubmissive wives aren’t happy. They have not yielded themselves.
If you will make a list of all the relationships you have where you are responsible to authority, and if you will decide that you are going to submit yourself to that authority, you will be happy.
When Dr. John Rice comes to our church, he obeys me. You know why? This is awful to say, but when he comes here, his position is inferior to mine. When we have a board meeting at the Sword of the Lord, I obey him. Why? When I go there, my position is inferior to his. We have a happy relationship only when he submits himself to me at First Baptist Church of Hammond and I submit myself to him in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
What am I as far as being the weaker is concerned? I am a Christian, so I must yield myself to the Holy Spirit. I am a citizen, so I must obey the laws of my land and respect the authority. I’m a board member at the Sword of the Lord, so when I go to a board meeting, I must respect authority. In every case, I will be happy in direct proportion to my submissiveness and my yielding to that which is my superior. Ninety-five percent of all the people with whom I counsel about home problems could be cured if they would do what I am talking about right now.
That which is inferior will always get more attention from that which is superior when it yields itself to its superior force. Herein is the philosophy of government, the philosophy of churches, the philosophy of homes, the philosophy of life, the philosophy of business, and the philosophy of any human institution or endeavor that has a leader and a follower!
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE MORE?
Isaiah 5:1-4, “Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, 0 inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?”
We are strange creatures. We plan what we are going to do … when I get out of high school, when I get married, when I have a baby, when my children get old enough to walk, when the children go to school. It seems that basically we look forward all the time. That’s the first part of life. The last part of life seems to be spent lamenting the fact that we did not do what we planned in the first part of life.
It seems that we never do today what we planned yesterday to do tomorrow and will wish tomorrow that we had done today. Today is the only material with which yesterdays are made. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow and today is tomorrow’s yesterday. All the things you planned yesterday to do today, you will remember tomorrow if you did them.
One of our young men who had wasted most of his life in riotous living literally killed his dad prematurely by his life. The young man was in the hospital room where his dad had just passed away. He went up to his dad’s body, not yet cold in death, and threw himself upon the form of his lifeless father. He put his arms around his dad and got his dad’s arms and put them around himself until he was hugging his father and his father’s lifeless arms were hanging around his shoulders. The young man said, “Hug me, Daddy! Hug me, Daddy! Hug me, Daddy! Hug me, Daddy.” But it was too late! Daddy couldn’t hug back. Then he put his lips against his dad’s lips that were stilled in death and began to kiss him. He said, “Daddy, kiss me back! Kiss me back, Daddy! Daddy, kiss me!” It was too late! Daddy could not kiss back! Daddy will never kiss back.
The text is, “What could have been done more?”
The song says, “By and by when I look on His face, I’ll wish I had given Him more.”
“Our Heavenly Father, for these moments we pause to look at life and to examine what I guess is the most common failure of human nature. I pray that in these few moments together we shall glean a truth that will help us not to have to say with lament someday, ‘What could have been done more?’ Amen.”
1. What could have been done more for your mother?
She lies in state. There are flowers all around the casket and there are friends and loved ones behind you. You walk down to the front of the auditorium and view her body. You touch the eyes that first saw you. You note her body which was your first dwelling place. You rub her hands–hands that were once your Florence Nightingale. You look at her breast over which her hands rest and remember that there was your first dining table. You notice her lips–lips that spoke your first, “I love you.” You notice her ears–ears that “walked the midnight watch” to hear your cry. You notice her arms that are crossed across her breast. Those are the arms that embraced you for the first time, and the face is the one that received your first kiss. The cheeks are those that were warmed with tears for you. You touch those cheeks, wrinkled for you, and you stroke the hair that was whitened for you. Suddenly you realize for the first time that you have no mother! All of a sudden you grow up. You are an adult now. For the first time in your life you have to say, “I have no mother.” Then you ask the question, “What could have been done more?”
You cannot write letters to her then. You cannot kiss her then. You cannot hug her then. You cannot say, “I love you!” then. You cannot care for her needs then. You cannot call her long distance then. You cannot write a check to help support her then. All you can do is look, remember and ask, “What could have been done more?”
I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I’m going to try to be the best son I can be to my mother. I’m not going to look at my mother’s face one day and wish I had done more.
I was preaching in a little town in Arkansas, a few years ago. I walked in the church that night and saw my book table out in the lobby. A little lady walked up, and said, “Dr. Hyles, could I help you at your book table?”
I said, “I’m sorry, but three ladies have already been chosen.”
She said, “Could my husband and I take you out to eat after the service tonight?”
“No, I’m sorry, I don’t eat after I preach.”
“Could we take you out for lunch tomorrow?”
“I’m sorry. We’re having a preachers’luncheon tomorrow and a question–answer session.”
“Could we take you out to dinner tomorrow night?”
“No, ma’am, I don’t like to eat a meal before I preach.”
“Could we take you to the airport Wednesday morning?”
“No, I’m sorry. A preacher who is having some problems in his church asked if he could drive me to the airport. I’m very sorry.”
She put her head in her arms on the table and began to beat the table with her hands.
I said, “Little lady, why are you weeping and why do you want so badly to do something for me?”
She looked at me and said, “Dr. Hyles, you don’t even know me, do you?”
I said, “No, I don’t.”
She said, “You’ll know when I tell you who I am,” and she called her name. “We were members of your church in Garland, Texas. We got peeved with you and the church. We left the church. Since then you have become our favorite preacher. We live in Arkansas. We own a plane, and we fly anywhere within 250 miles of where we live to hear you preach. You are our favorite preacher. Oh, my! We wouldn’t drive across town to hear you preach when we could have, and now we drive 250 miles to hear you.
How tragic it is that most of us live now in what we will wish tomorrow that we had cared for and enjoyed, but we live now in what we dreamed of yesterday!
“I cannot wait until I have a husband.”
“I cannot wait until I get married.”
“I cannot wait until I have children.
“I’m going to do this and this and that and that.”
Most of us plan it and then lament the fact that we did not do what we planned to do.
11. What could have been done more for your daughter?
She’s at the altar. How beautiful she is! You sit lovingly on the front pew in the mother’s place. You see the lips that once puckered just for you. You watch her graceful walk in her wedding gown and remember the first steps she took as she stumbled toward the coffee table. You hear her vows, “I take thee to my wedded husband, to love, cherish and obey until death do us part,” and you remember when that little voice could only say, “Oh, oh. I wuv ‘ou.” You watch as her graceful feet and legs take her to the top of the stairs where she is going to walk as a bride, and you remember those little feet when you played with her toes and said, “This little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had roast beef and this little piggy had none. This little piggy cried, ‘Wee, wee, wee,’ all the way home.” If you were a little more literate and scholarly it was, “This little piggy said, ‘I want some corn.’ This little piggy said, ‘Where you goin’ to get it?’ This little piggy said, ‘Out of mas’er’s barn.’ This little piggy said, ‘I’m goin’ to tell,’ and this little piggy said, ‘Wee, wee, wee, wee, wee!” You remember as you watch her walk the stairs. You look at those lovely eyes and remember Christmas morning when before daybreak they saw the Christmas tree and all the presents underneath.
The bride smiles at the groom and you see a tooth in a place where there had been not tooth. You remember how you tied one end of the string to that tooth and the other end to the doorknob. You closed your eyes and shut the door quickly, and the tooth came out! You recall how that tooth was placed under the pillow. The next morning she turned over the pillow and there was a nickel or dime or quarter (depending on the generosity of the “tooth fairy” that lived at your house).
As you see the bride’s lovely form, you remember the baths that you gave her every morning. Then you see her run to school and you see her with a skinned knee. You hear her first piano recital that made Bach turn over in his grave. You remember the first date, the first high heels, the first driver’s license, the ice cream man, the car seat, the bassinet, and the room that looked like the Korean War had been fought in it during the night.
Suddenly the newlyweds are leaving. The reception is over. There is rice and a car and a “Good-bye.” Then after it’s all over, you go home. Her room is a holy of holies and every toy becomes a shrine. You pick up her favorite doll and it seems to speak to you. Then you ask the question, “What could have been done more?”
It’s too late then to sit down and teach her about life. It’s too late then to pull her to your breast and say, “I love you.” It’s too late to be close. It’s too late to pray with her. It’s too late to be her best friend. It’s too late! All you can do is remember and sometimes lament and sometimes rejoice and ask the question, “What could have been done more?”
On June 1, 1979, Cindy (our youngest daughter) took the man of her life to be her husband. (Our brides walk across the balcony aisle, down the open staircase, and down the center aisle. Outside the balcony door and down a few stairs is the bridal room. The father meets the bride outside the bridal room.) When it came my time once again to stand there, Cindy and I stood outside the balcony door and she said, “Daddy, I want to tell you something. I have a wedding present to give you.”
I said, “What is it, Puddin’?”
She said, “I’ll be kissing Jack, my groom, in a few minutes, and I want you to know before I do, that that will be my first kiss. I wanted to give it to you for a wedding present.”
We walked out the balcony door and down the aisle. I stood on the platform and read this poem that I had written that afternoon.
Behold, this dreamer cometh,
His newborn child to view.
You cuddled in my bosom,
And made a dream come true.
I dreamed you would be loving,
To warm your Daddy’s heart.
My cup soon overfloweth
My dream was only part …
Of all the love you’ve given
And thoughtfulness you’ve shown;
We’ve had a close communion
That few girls and dads have known.
I dreamed you would be lovely
Of face and spirit too;
No father could be prouder!
You’ve made my dream come true.
I dreamed you would be clean and pure
To stand before your guy
To offer him your greatest gift
One money cannot buy.
Ah, there you stand before me
With virtue ever new.
Oh, thank you, dear unsoiled one;
You’ve made my dream come true.
I dreamed you’d be devoted
To Christ and to His plan;
I dreamed you’d have a healthy soul
To offer to your man.
I’ve seen you kneel beside your bed
Beneath the night lights dim;
I’ve tiptoed to your bedroom door
And heard you talk to Him!
I’ve watched you frolic through the Book,
The One that’s always new;
I’ve viewed your moistened eyes and said,
“My dream is coming true.”
I dreamed that God would save you
A man that was His best
To prove that He rewardeth those
Who wait and stand the test.
Now by your side, sweet lovely bride,
He stands, made just for you.
So thank you, my beloved son,
You’ve made my dream come true.
Behold, this dreamer cometh
Another dream to view;
‘Tis up to you, my children,
To make this dream come true.
My dream for you, dear daughter,
Is that you’ll use your life
To make our new son-in-law
A loyal, loving wife.
And, son, the dreamer lingereth
To dream a dream for you:
Be good to her and love her
And make my dreams come true.
Behold, this dreamer cometh
Another dream is near:
I see a lonely couple
In Hawaii, filled with fear.
The dream is clearer.
Say, I know what we’ll do!
We’ll go along beside you
And share your trip with you!
Oh, think, beloved children,
Of all that we can do
To rescue you from boredom
And make your dream come true!
111. What could have been done more for your husband?
Lady, you have a new title–the title you knew you would have, for almost all ladies get it. It’s one that all bear sooner or later. The title is “widow.” You get out the insurance policy and look at it. You pack his clothes and try to find somebody that is his size who could use them. You go to the funeral home and see the hands stilled now that once provided for you, and shoulders that carried the burdens of providing for a family through the years. You choose a suit, you go to the cemetery, you go to the Social Security office, you dust off the black dress and sit at the funeral chapel as people come by to tell you they are sorry. Again you go through his clothes and then you ask the question, “What could have been done more?”
It’s too late now to sit close to him in the car. It’s too late to greet him at the door with a hug and a kiss and ask him how the day has been. It’s too late to make love to him. It’s too late now to make him feel like he is a conquering hero coming home from the steel mill or the carpenter shop. It’s too late to encourage him. It’s too late to be kind.
IV. What could have been done more for your son?
You sit in an auditorium. A processional has been played and there sits the class in caps and gowns. “Could he be graduating? Is he old enough? I don’t remember the years between the ages of four and eighteen. What happened? Have I been a Rip Van Winkle for these years? Look at his shoulders–so broad and so straight. Isn’t he clean-cut? I’m so proud!” His name is called. He walks toward the platform and you remember when he toddled. Then all of a sudden memories come–the doctor’s office, the baby shower, the maternity clothes, the pickles, the peanut butter between two slices of watermelon at midnight, the morning sickness when often you vomited. There were prayers and the preparation of the room. It was two o’clock in the morning when the pains began. Then you remember the frantic trip to the hospital when the policeman stopped you and asked you where you were going, and your husband said he was taking his “hospital to the baby to have a wife!” As you see your son reach out for his degree or diploma, you remember the pain, the labor, a little ether, a cry and you heard the nurse say, “It’s a boy.” You remember the pabulum, the diapers, the nursing, the blue jeans, the electric train, the basketball goal, the first date, the paper route, and the hub cap on the wall. You rush home after commencement because you’ve got to help him pack, for off to college he goes. There’s a “goodbye.” You clean his room and store things–the baseball glove, the baseball cards, the .22 rifle, the 16 pictures of steady girlfriends–and then to bed, for tomorrow is housecleaning day. The alarm seems to go off in the middle of the night–the clock says six o’clock, but you know it’s not that late. Up you get, you rush to his room. You’ve got to clean it! That’s what you’ve always done. But it’s clean! The bed has not been used! No pants are on the chair! No shirt is on the floor! Then you say, as I said:
At last his room is neat and clean.
No clothes are on the floor.
The hub cap is gone from off the wall.
No marks are on the door.
The messy bed is finally made.
The carpet is clean now too.
For once the closet door is closed,
And no underwear is in view.
Bath water now is seldom cold;
I never have to wait.
No dirty rings around the tub,
The towels are clean and straight.
I’m never wakened by the sounds
Of bouncing basketballs;
They never fray my lonesome nerves
By hitting on the walls.
No fevered brow now mars my rest,
Or midnight sickly groan;
No fighting for the one sports page,
No, “Dad, I need a loan.”
No baseball shatters windowpanes,
No basepaths mar the grass,
The car top never gets a dent
>From a wayward forward pass.
No heel prints run along the wall,
No, “Dad, I need the car.”
No more, “‘Cause he’s not in yet,”
Do I leave the door ajar.
The water pitcher’s always full,
The bathroom floor’s not wet;
And when I want a piece of bread
The heel’s not all I get.
Me thinks the floor is lonesome, though–
It never has been bare;
The chairs are homesick now it seems
For dirty underwear.
The towels aren’t happy straight
And the bathtub wants some rings;
The floor is sorely saddened
By the silence cleanness brings.
The bed is lonesome for the guy
Who kept it such a mess,
‘Cause when it’s smooth and all dressed up,
It cannot seem to rest.
I’m gettin’ mighty nervous too
Just waitin’ for the noise
Of basketballs thrown ‘gainst the house
By him and all the boys.
How about his preacher dad,
The guy he used to fleece?
I’ve learned a truth I’d never known:
The heel’s my favorite piece!
You look at his picture and ask the question, “What could have been done more?”
V. What could have been done more?– She has done what she could.
The years pass and you sit in a chair in an apartment. Your son and daughter sit with you. It’s a Friday afternoon late, the shadows are coming and the sun is disappearing. Your daughter is getting prepared to go to a Ladies Spectacular they are having at the church. She’s going to receive a doctor’s degree. Your son is the busy pastor of this sponsoring church. You’re too sick to get up and say, “Good-bye,” and you’re too blind to read. You’re almost 92 and you know the end can’t be far away. It’s been a hard life. You’ve buried two children, a husband, two brothers, a sister and most of your friends. You hurt. You’re lonely and you’re a little bit afraid. You know you are going to Heaven, but you’ve never taken the journey before and the trip between here and there is a rather dark one, you think, and you dread the trip. You pray, “Even so come, Lord Jesus,” more feverishly than you did when you were young. You look back over your life. Your son is too busy to stay there long and your daughter has to go get a degree. There you sit. You’re took sick to go to the Spectacular, and if you did go, you are too blind to see. Suddenly you look back over your life and the apartment becomes a palace and the chair becomes a throne. Your daughter becomes a princess and your son becomes a prince. The royal scribe unrolls a scroll on which to write the story of your life. As I open the scroll I see these words written, “She has done what she could.”
What could have been done more?
My challenge to you is this: Live today like you planned yesterday to live today; live today like you’ll wish tomorrow you had lived today. Then when you say, “Good-bye,” to the one who brought you into the world, you can look at her face and say, “I did what I could.” When you say, “Good-bye,” at the altar to the one whom you craddled in your arms and nurtured and succored at your breast you can say, “I did what I could.”
May I share with you for a few moments the thoughts I had when Cindy walked down the aisle as a bride. (She was the last of our four children to be married. David is a preacher. Becky, Linda and Cindy are all married to preachers.) As Cindy and Jack walked out the aisle, I chuckled at the feeble attempt they had made to kiss. You should have seen them! They had never kissed before. You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to call out the high school cheerleaders and have a cheer. We cheer at football games for a touchdown or basketball games for a field goal. I wanted to call out the high school pep squad and the cheerleaders and have a great yell, “Rah, rah, rah-rah-rah! Rah, rah, rah-rah-rah! Rah, rah, rah-rah-rah! Virgin! Virgin! Virgin!” Then as she disappeared with her captor I stood on the platform and watched them disappear, these words I said to myself: “I have no regrets!”
One day these days will be over and you will be at the altar. By the way, if your child is three now, it will happen day after tomorrow. If your child is ten now, it will be this afternoon. Then you’ll either say with David, “Oh, Absalom, my son, would God I had…!” or you can say, “Thank God, I did!”
When her beautiful face wrinkled by toil is lifeless and you touch it, you’ll say, “What could have been done more?” or you’ll say, “I’m glad I did.”
“What could have been done more?” That’s the thought I leave with you. When the days of being a wife are over (and they will be); when the days of being a mother are over (and they will be); I hope you can say, “Thank God, I did!” and not, “What could have been done more?”