By Gerald Cowan
The success of marriage, or any other human relationship or endeavor, is a percentage game. Someone with more rhetoric than logic and accuracy said, “If you give a hundred percent to your marriage and your spouse also gives a hundred percent, you will have a two hundred percent marriage.” It sounds good, but it is not logical and cannot be true. It is like saying, “make a hundred and ten percent effort.” It is supposed to mean simply “make an extra effort, do more and give more than expected.” But literally giving or doing one hundred and ten percent is impossible. If you give everything you’ve got and do everything you are able to do, that is a hundred percent. You cannot exceed that. Nobody can possibly give more than a hundred percent of what he has, in anything. One hundred percent is all there is – there isn’t any more. Now about the marriage, if each mate gives a hundred percent to the marriage they will have a hundred percent marriage. If each one gives fifty (that is called “meeting half way”) they will have a fifty percent marriage. If one gives a hundred percent and the other gives five percent they will have a five percent marriage. Unless the partners are trying to find ways to improve their marriage as a personal relationship, continuing to give themselves completely to it, they will not only have a deficient and defective marriage, but may end up losing whatever they have already invested in it. Is there an application to life in the church here? No one can have a one hundred percent relationship with the church or with the Lord who is Head of the church unless he gives one hundred percent of himself. If one expects and receives a hundred percent from the church or the Lord, but only gives ten percent of himself, he has a ten percent relationship. Many complain that “the church is not doing enough for me,” when the fact is they are not giving enough of themselves to secure any real or lasting benefits. Scripture says, “Give yourselves to God as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). If you aren’t receiving properly from God or from the church, perhaps you should examine what you are giving before you start complaining.
- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL. He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com