( A couple’s perspective)
I had several great theologians as professors while I was in seminary. One of them, while lecturing on the Old Testament passages such as above, used to state that these passages are important not only because they are holy texts, but that the history it shares reminds us of a very specific group of people to which we belong. And as I think about David’s agreement with his elders, I think of it as the people to whom he is beholden, who depend upon him.
For me, this agreement is with my husband and my young children. Whether it is easy or not, for the rest of my life I am to care for them and “shepherd” them, my family, my people. I pray for help and guidance every day from God as I do this work.
My wife and I are involved in “helping” professions—psychology and counselling for her and ministry and teaching for me. We are good at taking care of others’ needs. We even do a decent job of taking care of one another’s needs (although she definitely does this better than me!).
Unfortunately, we can both overlook our own needs and desires sometimes. It is an occupational hazard, I suppose, that affects many who focus so much on helping other people. I have learned that it is important to pay attention to myself now and then—to feed my soul with music and reading, to rest when I can, and to focus on what is truly important in life. Obligations to self sometimes seem selfish to me, but I need to resist the temptation of believing that I do not need or deserve care and attention.
To whom are you beholden? Who requires your care and attention today?
—Carrie and David Nantais live in the city of Detroit with their two sons, Liam (almost 4 years) and Theo (5 ½ months). They are both at the University of Detroit Mercy—David as Director of University Ministry and Carrie as a PhD student in Clinical Psychology. They have been married for 5 ½ years. http://www.udmercy.edu/ministry/index.htm