THE PASTOR’S WIFE
By Karla Christian
On the road again. To another place. Another church. Wonder what it will be like this time? I wonder. . . .What will the church be like? Will the people be friendly to us? What kind of people will the pastor and his wife be?
These thoughts have probably entered our minds many times as we travel to a place we have never been before, doing what we feel God wants.
Evangelizing is a different life, but a rewarding one. Every place is a new experience, a new challenge—meeting new people and learning new names. Yes, it’s an exciting life. Just to have the opportunity to serve such a great and wonderful Savior is a privilege that no one can really express. I’m glad that He chose me!
Doing what God wants is the uppermost in our minds. But we must also deal with people. All kinds of people. A considerable amount of time, of course, will be spent with the pastor and the pastor’s wife. Eating, visiting, and fellowshipping with them plays a big part in our lives.
Although by no means am I an expert, I would like to share a few thoughts with you on the relationship between the pastor’s wife and the evangelist’s wife.
To Another Place
The first two years my husband and I were married, we did not have a trailer. We usually had to wait until we arrived at a certain place before we knew where we were to stay (which I’m sure others have also done). But I can honestly say, God has blessed us and we have not stayed in any “bad” places. From the experiences I have heard of the “old days,” things have really changed for the evangelist. I’m very thankful for that.
It was a little difficult sometimes for me to feel “at home” when we were staying with the pastor. For example, for some odd reason I thought that if I didn’t wake up by at least 8:00 (no matter if it was 2:00 or 3:00 before we went to bed), they would think I was listless and lazy. But, I began to realize that it wasn’t that way at all. They really do want you to be comfort able and feel at home with them. He may be a pastor and she a pastor’s wife, but they are human too, and usually realize what kind of situation you are in.
While staying in the pastor’s home, a big part of my time was spent with the pastor’s wife. I found that if I would listen, I would learn a lot from her. The pastor’s wife has had more opportunities in dealing with people and will usually be glad to share her experiences with you if you have any questions.
What are my “Duties”?
Most everyone who has evangelized can tell you what your “duties” consist of. One of our main responsibilities, besides our spiritual life, is helping in the kitchen. I have heard several comments on “always having to make the salad.” (Probably a smile came to your face just now.) I believe the only reason the pastor’s wife wants you to do this is because she believes it’s the easiest thing for you to do and it would not be as much trouble as other things. If they knew you would like to do something other than make a salad, I’m sure they would be more than happy for you to. So if you become a little disgruntled, try to remember that they have your best interests at heart. Make that salad and thank the Lord for the opportunity to work for Him. I have found that thinking this way can sure change my attitude. Maybe it will help you also.
There will most likely be the possibility for you to go shopping with the pastor’s wife. Everyone likes to go shopping! But sometimes, when money is a little scarce or when you are not in the mood, you may not feel like going. Right?
One should be able to tell what would be the best thing to do. If you decide not to go, they probably will be understanding because at times they must have felt the same way. But, I have found that when I didn’t feel like going but went anyway, those times have been the most profitable. I helped myself by going. The pastor’s wife may want to get away for awhile and may ‘need someone just to listen. So before you make the decision not to go, take her feelings into consideration. When you put others before yourself the Lord will bless you for it.
“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
What Can I Give To A Pastor’s Wife?
It is proper to do something a little extra for the pastor’s wife. I have found that if I go out of my way to help, it is always rewarding. I don’t mean the kind of rewards when you are complimented for your hard work (though I’m sure these will come). I’m talking about the rewards that will come from the Lord. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. . . .For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” You are wanting to help ease the load for His servant and he will reward your efforts.
As you read the Bible, you will find that Jesus helped many people. Those who were sick, He healed. Those who wanted deliverance, He delivered. And those who wanted love, He loved. He continually gave of Himself. His heart also went out to those who gave of themselves.
Several months ago, my husband and I made quite a lengthy trip to the state of Florida. I had been taking some medication to which, though unaware of at the time, I was allergic. I developed a reaction and by the time we arrived, I was very ill. I will never forget the kindness of both the pastor and his wife. They took care of me as if I were their own daughter. The pastor’s wife kindly told me it was not necessary for me to be up trying to help, but I should rest. She understood exactly how I felt and extended a hand of kindness to me. They were not forced to do what they did, but they gave of themselves out of a heart of love and concern. Other pastors have done the same for those who needed help. They are not forced to do what they do, but out of a heart of love and concern they extend a hand to help.
The Scriptures relate an incident that is remembered by all of us. Mary came one day and knelt before Jesus. She broke an alabaster box filled with costly ointment, anointed His feet, and wiped them with her hair. Jesus was greatly touched by her display of love for Him. She did not have to do it, but she wanted to offer this service simply because
she loved her Savior.
We are privileged to be doing the Lord’s work. We need to show the kind of love He portrayed to so many. Although our love for others could never match His, we can at least let our goal be to please Him and be of service to others.
Jesus said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. . . .Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another” (John 15:14-17). Let God’s love show through you by giving yourself to others. Do all you can for the pastor’s wife and see how rewarding your life will be.
She Just Isn’t Friendly To Me
Perhaps the pastor’s wife didn’t treat us just like we thought she should. She may have seemed like she didn’t have time for us and was preoccupied with other things. Maybe these have been our very thoughts. But one day while reading, an incident was related which I pray will help me to be more understanding.
A young lady complained to another about how unfriendly her pastor was to her. She said she met him in the hall and he greeted her, but he was so preoccupied that he didn’t really know she was there. She harbored her hurt because no matter what anybody else said, he did not really care about her anyway.
Several days later, the person to whom she complained made a call to the minister. He was completely taken by surprise at the young lady’s reaction. He explained that on that particular day things seemed to pile on top of him. Before 6:00 a.m. he had received a phone call from the hospital. There had been an accident and a young lady was killed. A young man who was a member of his church had been the driver and was in critical condition.
After going to the hospital, he returned to his office and found his secretary anxiously waiting, hoping he would make it to the funeral home for a memorial service. After the funeral, he returned to his office and found a message on his desk marked “urgent.” His secretary was wanting to know which bills to pay. A young couple was waiting for premarital counseling during their lunch hour. Another call came from a woman whose husband was ill (not seriously, but was upset because the minister had not been by to see him). One thing after another was happening and he had not even had the chance to pray.
Another call came from the hospital. The young man in the car accident was asking for his pastor. He rushed from his office, and at that moment he saw the young lady in the hall of the church.
Perhaps we can also place the pastor’s wife in this same position. When we may not understand her pre occupation, we can remember the incident above and be understanding. We never really know what a person is going through until we are “in their shoes.”
When I was a small girl, I remember a lesson our pastor’s wife taught. Before service, she went around and asked for several people’s shoes. She lined them up along the banister and then began. She went from one pair of shoes to the next describing the person who wore those shoes—a farmer, a widow, a restaurant owner, a postmaster, and the pastor. But her object was, “Don’t criticize or underestimate someone until you have stood in their shoes.” Over the years, when I have gotten upset at someone, it seems like her message always comes back to me very clearly:
“DON’T CRITICIZE UNTIL YOU HAVE STOOD IN THEIR SHOES!”
The majority of us have probably never been a pastor’s wife. But let’s try to be understanding to those who are. Until we experience it ourselves, we will never know what it is like. Proverbs 31:26 says it very well: “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” All we can do is to be kind and understanding.
One of the areas in which most pastors’ wives are careful is friendships. She is careful to develop close relationships with those who are members of their church. She is a friend to all and she tries not to be closer to one than she is another. If she should tell her true feelings to someone in the church, it could cause serious trouble. That is why most pastors’ wives limit then to a few close friends. Her weaknesses and faults are probably not as acceptable as a lay member’s would be.
Though she lives a demanding and busy life, she may be a lonely person. So why not be a friend to her? Don’t tell anyone else what she may have told you. What is important is that she trusted you enough to confide in you. We should feel honored when this hap pens and do our best to live up to what she believes we are. When she needs a friend, let us be one to her.
I honestly haven’t found a pastor’s wife who is hard to get along with, for we do have something in common. We are sisters in the Lord and are serving the same Jesus. Both of our husbands are ministers and we want their ministries to be blessed of God. Not only should we get along, but we should be able to work together for whatever period of time we will be together. Both of us can relate to the ministry, and I feel that a pastor’s wife and an evangelist’s wife can learn from each other. We should bind ourselves together in a harmonious way and just see how the Lord will work.