Who has the most thankless position in any place of great influence? In my humble opinion it is the dear wives of leaders in our politics, business, military, and…especially ministry. Unlike recently distorted Hollywood presentations, your average ministry wife lives a life of obscurity and misunderstanding. In all honesty, I have rarely taken the time to reflect upon or thank the many wives who sacrificed much to allow their husbands to serve and shepherd me.
In the book John Adams, David McCullough includes a line penned by Abigail Adams to her husband John Adams who became a founding father of the United States of America. The following line from this wife who dutifully spent years separated from her beloved husband prompted this post:
“You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you, an inactive spectator…We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond to them.”
Thank you to every ministry wives for:
(This not an exhaustive list; it is simply birthed from one ministry husband’s observation.)
- For your willingness to be separated from your husband on a lonely couch/bed during unpredictable seasons of urgent opportunity and crisis.
- For your constant effort to steer your children toward a sweet disposition about knowing and serving the Lord.
- For your willingness to navigate the unrealistic, extra-biblical expectations that frequently come your way from even well-meaning people.
- For your grounded, patient empathy with your husband who often is emotionally and conversationally depleted.
- For your willingness to allow your financial security to be directly affected by the ebbs and flows of the church’s stewardship trends without fear or resentment.
- For your shouldering of responsibilities that no one else on the planet can fulfill in your marriage to a pastor, missionary, or evangelist.
- For your domestic efforts that create both a space of opened-armed hospitality for strangers and a highly desirable, cozy oasis for your family.
- For your quiet fortitude and Spirit-enabled smile toward those that have wronged you privately and are publicly held in high regard by others.
- For your willingness in demeanor and words to publicly identify with a lifestyle that frequently draws odd looks and “vibs” from the world around you.
- For your I-cannot-take-this-for-another-moment tears that are shed, wiped, and surrendered to the grand cause of winning the world to Christ.
I would be remiss if I did not personally thank my precious wife Heidi in this post. This dear woman, from my perspective, demonstrates what few woman are willing-she grew up as a pastor’s daughter and then reenlisted as a pastor’s wife. In our day-to-day ministry, I observe her regularly hearing from other women the follow sentiment: “I could never, would never be a pastor’s wife.” I am so thankful that not just my wife but many dear ladies realize that we men AND WOMEN cannot “be inactive spectators” while the Devil wrecks havoc upon souls, bodies, homes, and communities that do not know Christ.
For everyone else:
- Ministry leaders, make sure to convey the sentiment of the above list in a personal and sincere fashion to your dear wife on a regular basis.
- Church members, remember that you should be counted among those who are givers more than takers toward the pastoral, missionary, and evangelist wives in your life.
I believe some of the greatest rewards and affirmations from God Himself await these godly women. Why? Christ declares, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (Mt. 10:41). I leave you with the question-who receives a prophet in a more intimate and sacrificial fashion than the wife of the minister?