Don’t forget, honey, at some point the girls need new doors on the vanity under the sink in their bathroom.”
These words were spoken so very sweetly by my wife, my bride, my darling. But I, a certified male, was able to see through the deceptive fog of sweetness and perceive what was really there.
Nagging. My wife was nagging me. How dare she ... did she not know, could she not grasp that when a man says he will do something, he will, in fact, do it?
For those who have missed my columns on what we call our miracle house, let me give you a brief summary. Our family of five had for many years been crowded into a two-bedroom home of less than a thousand square feet. Finally, though, we found a large home to purchase in just the location we were hoping for, on the bank of a lovely river. The reason we were able to afford it, though, is because it had sat vacant for several years and been badly and repeatedly vandalized inside and out. It was in such bad shape that no one really wanted it.
But we wanted it.
So, having bought it and gotten it just barely livable, we moved in with my assurance to my dear family that I would renovate it piece by piece. And I have done so; we are currently about 80% through, by my estimation.
And that brings me to the needed cabinet doors and my wife’s oh-so-subtle nagging about me needing to complete them to replace the ones that had been literally ripped to shreds and left with only small pieces of the edge left hanging on the hinges. She told me in February of 2015 that I needed to do that, and by a following January, I had done so.
Hold up a second, you grammar Nazis who are already grabbing pen and paper to chide me for my improper grammar and tell me that my last sentence should have read, “by THE following January, I had done so.” You are entirely incorrect. My sentence is laid out perfectly, and I properly chose the indefinite article rather than the definite article. You see, we bought our home in February of 2015, and I finished their cabinet doors in January of 2022...
Like I said, ladies, there is never any need to nag; when a man says he will do something, he will eventually do it.
In seriousness, Dana has never nagged. She has said “I told you so” more times than I can count, but in all fairness, that is because I tend to do stupid and ill-advised things like climbing trees to cut branches while hanging from them, but that is another story entirely.
Anyway, after seven years, I got their doors done. And I am not the least bit ashamed of that for two reasons. One, I always work like a fiend and have done mountains of work on our home and our church and other places all during those seven years. There is rarely ever a week that goes by that between desk work and physical toil I do not work at least 60 hours, and that is the way I like it. Work is legitimately my love language. But the second reason I am not ashamed of those doors taking seven years is because of the other, more important ways I spent time that could have been “cabinet door-making hours” during those seven years.
Most Friday nights have been family night, consisting of pizza and a movie. And except for the 2016 movie “Trolls,” perhaps the most hideous waste of time known to mankind, those have been many wonderful hours. We have also made sure to always schedule a family vacation each year, and last year even took ten days to go drive cross country to New Mexico and back, even dipping down into Mexico itself for a day.
Each night we five Wagners get together in the master bedroom and talk about everyone’s day, and then we close with a wonderful family prayer time. Most nights, that time together is forty-five minutes to an hour.
We never miss church. And that was our way of life even before I became a pastor. We also had our children in Christian school, which took a chunk of time each day to drive them back and forth. For us, that was an investment of time and money worth expending, something we knew we would never regret.
Ephesians 5:16 teaches us to be “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” In other words, we are to buy up each moment as if it were a sacred treasure and use it accordingly. In that light, things like cabinet doors and molding for the hall (which I am still not done with) and whatever else it is that needs doing but can possibly wait will never be as important as the time invested in raising a godly and loving family. Putting it in “Biblicalese,” what shall it profit a man if he gain a nice house and a great career and a fat retirement account and yet loses his children along the way, or drifts apart from his wife and they become strangers living under one roof, or even see their marriage dissolve? What shall it even profit a preacher if he wins the world and loses his family, those who are his first priority to win and train?
Consider carefully how you use your time; some things are more important than others.