A few months ago my bride and I attended a meeting on “new monasticism” – living in intentional, multi-family groups. Yeah, that can be a commune in all the ugly ways, but it can also be something good. I only mention it here because of something said to me by the man who owned the house in which we met. This fellow, a bit older than I, said he didn’t like entertaining – and I commented on how odd it was given he regularly had a group of 20 or more in his home. He said, “I am learning to die to my preferences“.
Those words have stuck with me – even haunted me if you will – ever since. I frankly didn’t like the idea, but at the same time I heard Jesus so very clearly in those words. The preferences I’m thinking of aren’t things that matter deeply to me, or things based on morality, law, or decency. I have a great many other preferences – little things that really don’t matter as much as I’d like to think they do.
The Bible puts it like this:
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another… [Romans 12:10 NKJV]
That’s probably something I should be doing – and I should probably put my wife at the top of the list.