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Living for Something Bigger

Rebecca Motte’s name may not sound familiar to you, but she holds my respect. She was a wealthy widow with a large estate on the Congaree River in South Carolina whose fierce loyalty to her country served to inspire the Patriot army during the Revolutionary War.

In 1781 the British set up camp there; 175 soldiers took residence in her home and surrounded it with a trench and parapet. Rebecca escaped to the Patriots, who started hammering away at the British compound (um, Rebecca’s estate). After several days of fighting, the Patriots concluded the only way to force the British from their newly occupied “fort” was to set fire to Rebecca’s house. When Lee, the leader of the Patriot force, broke the news to Mrs. Motte, she didn’t protest, pout or cry, no—she responded as a beautifully fierce woman by telling him that she was “gratified with the opportunity of contributing to the good of her country.”

Rebecca produced a bow and set of arrows and told Lee to put them to use. She was ready to sacrifice her beautiful estate for the cause. The flaming arrows set fire to the roof of her home and forced the British to surrender. The Patriots quickly climbed to the roof and managed to put out the flames and salvage the home. After the victory, true to the spirit of a beautifully fierce woman, Rebecca Motte served dinner to both the American and British officers in her dining room!

This fierce woman was living for something bigger than herself, something more valuable to her than physical possessions. She was living for a cause she believed in and was willing to suffer the consequences and physical loss fighting for that cause. Our daily choices reveal what we’re living for.

Jesus laid it out in simple terms: “No one can serve two masters . . .” (Matt. 6:24). He grabs our attention with this simple statement, inserted within a message, and challenges us to check our hearts in relation to our possessions. Are our hearts set on real treasure—the eternal kind?

His pronouncement is really a formula for determining where our heart is: “Who am I serving here?” If I’m grabbing onto and holding tight earthly treasure . . . my heart isn’t really set on anything bigger than my stuff.

Rebecca was ready to let her “stuff” burn for a greater cause. What about me? Am I living for something more than just the here and now?

What about you?

Are you living for something bigger than yourself?

More valuable than your stuff?

How do your daily choices demonstrate what or Who you are living for?

2 Comments

  • Linda

    Kim, I am reading your book Fierce Women now. You are a beautiful woman. Thanks for writing this book and sharing your struggles. I share now your old pain. It is very difficult to go on waiting for the miracle. I know I contributed alot to emasculating my husband. I think that is the word you used. But I didn’t do it alone. If he feels the way he feels it is because he dug that hole for himself. For example gambling away everything we worked for. Maybe after the fifth time I wasn’t as forgiving as the first 4. Maybe I cried more than I smiled. Maybe I could have been more pleasant about driving around in the streets looking for a place we will live in with our kids while he was out entertaining another woman and showering her with kind words because she was more pleasant and complimentary towards him. But she didn’t lose her house twice. She can afford to be all sweet. God forgive me. But it is so hard for me to accept all the blame now by my myself and work on building his confidence up when I have been made to feel worthless and continue to be treated with less affection than everyone else in his life. It is hard. God help me. I am confused. What you say sounds so right yet how do I implement this when I am hurting, disrespected myself? I will take all the prayers I can get at this point.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dear Linda,

    I am so very sorry for the pain you’re experiencing and the difficult circumstances you are bearing. I hope you are in a biblical church body and are receiving help and counsel from wise leaders. If your husband claims to be a believer, I hope your church will follow the course of direction given in Matthew 18:15-18.

    I hope from reading Fierce Women you didn’t get the idea that you need to accept the blame for your husband’s sinful choices. If you haven’t yet read the Appendix, I encourage you to read “Guidelines When Confrontation is Necessary” (p. 271).

    God has called us to display His character. He’s called us to demonstrate His mercy, grace, truth, forbearance, patience, endurance and even joy in suffering (Colossians 3:12-19; Philippians 3:7-10). With that in mind however, we should
    never pretend that sinful choices are “no big deal” or ignore our
    husband’s sinful behavior.

    “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:5–6).

    It is extremely important to give out words of encouragement and affirmation to our husbands. But it is equally important to be salty speakers (Colossians 4:6)and the voice of truth in their ears.

    Scripture doesn’t present a model for marriage which encourages the wife to stuff issues that need to be discussed or to sit idly by watching her husband caught in a destructive addiction. We’re instructed to humbly and lovingly confront the sin of a fellow believer—even if that believer is your husband—he is still a brother in Christ (Galatians 6:1-2; Matthew 18:15-18).

    Digging into God’s Word, we find a continual theme: God’s heart is one of restoration and redemption. His plan for marriage is to convey to the world the picture of His unrelenting love for His (often faithless and wayward) bride. He doesn’t walk away or abandon, but He maintains a steadfast devotion. That is what we are to convey to others in our marriages.

    With that said, there have been a few times in extreme situations where the husband is blatantly taking advantage of a wife and she is being harmed by his foolish and immoral behavior, that we have recommended she enter a season of separation–with the understanding that this separation is an intervention. She is separating only in order for him to realize she is serious about him receiving the help he needs.

    Consider getting counsel from your church leadership on whether your situation rises to a level that might require a season of separation. Whenever separation occurs, it should never be entered into with plans to end the marriage, but with plans to one day reconcile. You would only be temporarily leaving, in order for your husband to realize the seriousness of the situation and begin an intentional process of recovery, with plans at some point to reconcile if/when he follows through with biblical counsel from church leadership.

    Scripture never recommends or counsels us to do anything that would enable our husband to continue in his sin. No, true love is coming alongside our brother who is drowning and use biblical resources (the church) to rescue him.

    I am pausing to pray for you now, Linda, and I hope other women reading this will take time to intercede for you and your family. God is a transforming God. Place all your hope in Him.