The Pastor’s House
By O. F. Fauss
Many people seem to possess the idea that the life of a pastor and his family is different from the lives of those in the ordinary home. Some even act as though their view of the situation is that of the supernatural. Of all the homes and families in the whole community, the pastor’s is the most censured and criticized. What some people seem to expect of that household would be a burden, extremely grievous to be borne. The pastor, his good wife, or his son and daughter, are continually the subject of many discussions. At high school a minister’s child often seems to be a target for the jeers of those in the classroom. Many people have attempted to “outline” just what a pastor and his family should measure up to. Yet if that same measurement were turned on those who offer it so freely, immediately we would have to “call the elders,” and anoint them with oil.
It has been said, “Why, the pastor has nothing to worry about. He shouldn’t be discouraged or feel blue as do other folks. All he has to do is to go to church and enjoy life.” Another stands at a distance and looks on, making this remark, “If I were only a pastor, or if my husband were only a minister, I could sing all day long.” Still another replies, “Well, he doesn’t have to work; all he has to do is just let others bring him his living. He should have a good sermon. He doesn’t have discouragements like other people, therefore he should meet everybody with a smile.” These are a few of the many remarks that make up the pastor’s lot, week by week, month by month and year by year.
The Pastor – A Help in Trouble
Nearly everybody goes to the pastor when he gets in trouble. The pastor must have a good word of comfort and cheer to offer under all circumstances. People will unfold to the pastor their troubles as they will to no other. His mind must be broad enough and his heart big enough to weigh the matters well and give the right advice. He meets with all kinds of problems, many that would tax a dozen minds beyond the limit. People with their domestic affairs come to the pastor and his wife for a word of consolation. There is a husband who feels he is right in his rigid stand; and there, too, is the wife, equally claiming her right in the affair. They have come to the pastor for him to help unravel the tangle. Many people will confess to the pastor that which they would not discuss even with an attorney.
Here comes another whose children are trampling her heart to the earth, and she seeks some ray of hope from the pastor. There is a wife whose husband forbids her to attend “that church.” Still the pastor must always smile and be of good courage. Many seek his advice in their financial worries, young people seek his council in love affairs. He is indeed the bureau of information, comfort and consolation.
Many times I have thought of all this, as a pastor of many years, and have been made to wonder, “Who on earth feels it is his duty to encourage the pastor in his difficulties? Some will say, “Oh, does the pastor ever meet with discouragements?” Is it possible that he and his wife must be left to bear their burdens alone? They, too, enjoy someone’s word of cheer occasionally.
Unpleasant and Undue Criticism
The pastor is severely criticized when he fails to visit sick members of his congregation, and generally they are among those who are irregular in their attendance. They seem to think that, by inward instinct or by some super-divine knowledge, the pastor ought to know that they are sick. They never seem to think of the scripture which says, “Call for the elders of the church.” The telephone is too far away for them to phone him, or he lives too many miles away to send him word. He does not know about these sick persons, yet he “ought to be there.” Then, generally, the very first time they meet the pastor, the remark they hand to that poor preacher has, indeed, a sting.
Why should a pastor and his family be deprived of that feeling of liberty when they spend a dollar? Is it just and right for the pastor’s wife to feel those censuring eyes as they look her up and down? Should the dress of the pastor’s wife or daughter last any longer than any other woman’s apparel? My opinion is, that of all people who should look well in dress, it is the pastor and his family (if such is ever possible).
The Pastor’s Wife
I have said that if there ever was a special place reserved in heaven for a single soul on earth for filling any certain place in the world, it should be for the wife of a minister. If a pastor’s wife is active in the services, she is criticized as trying to run the church. If she is not so active, her heart is not in the work, and she is a hindrance to the pastor. If she accompanies her husband as he visits the sick and makes his calls, she is sometimes censured as being jealous of her husband. If she stays at home, she is backslidden and ought to repent. If she seeks to look neat and appear well-dressed, and has some pride in her personal appearance, she is then spoken of as being too proud. Yet, if she takes no thought of her appearance, she is too slovenly to be a minister’s wife.
The pastor’s wife is expected to attend every prayer meeting and special service throughout the whole week, and always be a little early in coming to service. She must be sure to take an active part in the singing, praying, testifying and altar service. Nine times out of ten, she should be able to entertain all the passing ministers and evangelists in her home, cook, and keep up her housework herself, for if she had a maid to help her, some good saint would surely lose the victory. If she fails to get around and greet all the folks at every service, some feel she slighted them on purpose. Then above all these things, she should be able to preach in case of emergency.
Finally, it happens to fall the lot of the pastor’s wife to be the only one left in the whole world to have a word of encouragement for the pastor, especially when he has met with some things that make him lose sleep, and spend hours weeping and praying for his flock.
The Pastor’s Service and Family Appreciated
The pastor’s family generally is uninvited to many homes of his people, yet they feel he should not fail to visit them freely. An invitation many times would make a pastor and his whole family feel like they are appreciated. Any little act of kindness, shown toward those who are over the work of God as leaders of the flock, many times drives away dark clouds that the Devil has gathered around the pastor’s home. How easy it would be to show the pastor and his family that their efforts are indeed appreciated. The church will be more than repaid. Any preacher can preach with greater unction when he feels that his people love and appreciate his efforts.
The Apostle Paul asked the Corinthians, “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap of your carnal things?” (1 Cor. 9:ll). He then answers the question by explaining how that they who ministered in the Temple at the altar were partakers of the altar, referring to the order of worship of the old covenant which was ordained of God through Moses. Then he makes this statement: “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14). Bud Robinson said: “Ministers receive less for their services to mankind than any other men of profession in the world?” Yet they serve in matters pertaining to the eternal welfare of souls. Why should a person think and ponder over a five dollar bill for days afterward, when he gave it to some minister, or perhaps his own pastor?
Many are the slurs and jeers that befall the lot of a preacher, yet some think he should never feel blue. He is expected to be satisfied with whatever is given him, no matter how hard he has labored. If someone mentions raising his salary or a special offering, I can almost hear a good (for nothing) brother saying, “Well, he shouldn’t be in need very bad, for I gave him five dollars one time (about three months ago, perhaps.)”
The Pastor is Worthy of Honor
It will be well for every church to remember what Paul has said in 1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” It hardly ever gives a pastor the “big head for some member of his flock to pay him a compliment. I think he is deserving of such. People will pay dearly for the services of a lawyer and never think of it, even if he loses the case. How should they regard the services of their pastor? He is called of God to “watch for the souls of his flock, as they that must give an account” (Hebrews 13:37). He stands as a watchman on the wall, and has the case of many souls’ eternal salvation on his heart. He stands as he who speaks the greatest message to all the world, the message of the gospel. He is the one who brings the good news to those in the paths of sin.
“How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) Some even glory in the slander of the minister. Some will never mention a good deed of a pastor, but seem delighted to speak of his mistakes and failures. An accusation once turned loose on a minister goes with such rapidity that it is impossible to stop. It appears that the evil mind feasts upon the tainted reports of another, and more especially that of a preacher. The Apostle Paul must have known a few things when he wrote, in 1 Timothy 5:19, “Against an elder (pastor) receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.”
It is not yet possible for a pastor and his family to live and serve in this world, and board and room in heaven. Does the pastor’s home receive due consideration? Have you considered him and his family as human beings the same as yourself? Have you failed to go a step or two out of the way to show an act of appreciation? Dear sister, have you ever thought that a little love token handed by you to the minister’s wife would cause a world of cheer in that poor laboring soul? Have you been guilty of offering criticism when the pastor’s wife appeared in a new dress?
Let me add this: A discouraged pastor and family is indeed a subject of pity and sympathy. If anything in the world, to my mind, would make the angels bow their heads and weep, it would be to look down and see a poor preacher, a victim of some scandal-monger’s vile lips, with all he possesses in the world – his reputation and influence – at stake, and him discouraged. Of all the great men and women in the world, they are those who have hazarded their lives for this gospel of the New Testament. It is the most unpopular profession that one can choose, yet for the sake of souls for whom Jesus died, your pastor and the members of his family have answered that call to the ministry by saying: “Here am I, send me.”
“The Pastor’s House”. Written by O. F. Fauss.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”