I read a quote from the wife of A.W. Tozer that has haunted me for months. I don’t really know what to do with it, as the words evoke such strong and diverse emotions within my soul. After Mr. Tozer passed away and his wife remarried a man named Leonard Odam, she said, “Aiden loved Jesus, but Leonard loves me.” I am at once excited about A.W.’s devotion to Christ, that He was unashamed to love Jesus more than his wife, but at the same time find it sad perhaps his wife (Ada) did not feel loved by her husband.
While I can’t know everything that happened in their life and marriage that led up to her statement, it does make me wonder if perhaps she desired love from her husband more than she desired to love God. While I intend no disrespect and admit I do not and cannot know her heart, it makes me reflect on my own life and marriage.
I admit I want nothing more than to be remembered as a man who loved Jesus more than anything else. Perhaps I even want to be known as a man who loved Jesus and nothing else. It’s the command I see in Scripture, when Jesus commanded His disciples to leave everything behind and to follow Him (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:57-62). Paul said he considered everything in this life to be utter filth and garbage in comparison to Christ (Philippians 3:8). Our love for Jesus must be so intense our love for anything else pales so much in comparison it would be question whether or not it was love at all.
I am not saying we should neglect or mistreat our spouses, family, or friends. I am convinced if we love Jesus with a reckless abandon, if we love Him to the exclusion of everything else, that love for Jesus will manifest itself in the love of others anyway. So by loving Jesus with every ounce of our heart, mind, strength, and soul, His love in return will overflow our being and spill over onto those around us. So I find no contradiction in loving Christ so much our love for others looks like hate, and the commands of God that we not neglect our households. In His wisdom, God understands a love abandoned only to Him results in a life that cannot help but love everyone else.
Back to Ada’s quote; I am left in utter admiration of the way she perceived her husband’s love of God. I am also left heartbroken it appears she did not share his devotion. It seems to me if her focus was on God, she would not have been so concerned about what she was receiving in this life. Our goal then is to love the Lord with every ounce of what we’ve got, and to teach our spouse’s, families, and friends to love Him the same. In this way, may it be said of all of us when we die: they loved the Lord and nothing else.