“Oh. My. Word. Can you believe this?! It is the worst! Listen, Linda, you do not understand all I have to do and how people treat me! I deserve more respect than this, and maybe I need someone to do work for ME every once in a while! Also, you’re never going to believe this, but I didn’t even get a birthday recognition. How rude!”
How many similar social media posts have been seen or conversations have been heard that lay out the role of a pastor’s wife in a light that makes it appear to be a burdensome, thankless job.
If this isn’t Satan trying to work in the mind of us pastors’ wives, I don’t know what is. I tell ya, I, too, have been there. One minute I’m happily cleaning the windows at church thanking the Lord for the ability and opportunity to do so, and the next minute I’m grumbling in my heart that other people could be helping or wondering why I am the only one to do this and on and on my heart seeps into a ditch of self. The thing about ditches is that, unfortunately, we all love them, and the ditch of self is a familiar one because we all struggle with the idol of loving ourselves. This is why we must be intentional to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) as we serve in this amazing role. Let’s talk about some helps to keep our hearts in line with the gift of serving to which God has called us.
Any role God calls us to do should be viewed as an honor and privilege. At some point, someone shared the Gospel with us, and from there someone discipled us in some way. God has graciously now given us the opportunity to do that for someone else. We get to point the unbeliever to the Gospel, disciple the new Believer, and encourage fellow sisters in Christ. In addition, we get to support the pastor in a greater way than anyone else. What a blessed opportunity.
We are not the only ones in the church who have a difficult job or face difficult struggles. When we are focused on ourselves and the difficulties our role may bring, we lose site of the fact there are many people in our church who walk difficult roads. Many of them do so quietly and in lonely places. They need to come to church to be encouraged, not guilt-ridden or worried they didn’t do enough to please a fellow church member, and we certainly don’t want them missed and left to suffer alone. Anyone who follows Christ will suffer (2 Timothy 3:12). We are not the only ones suffering, and we aren’t the ones suffering most. I love Genesis 16:13 where it says, “And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me…” As we point the heavy heart of others to Him, we can also take our heavy hearts and call to Him. He sees. He knows. Praise Him!
The Lord knew I would need a constant reminder to keep my focus on the needs of others rather than myself. So, He gave us Philippians 2:3 “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” I am thankful God gave us this verse. I often think of when John the Baptist was murdered. Jesus had just lost a dear friend in a horrific manner. He left with the disciples to get away for some time alone. However, he saw a multitude with needs and had compassion on them. Rather than looking toward His emotions and desires, He ministered to the multitude. He was weary and under the weight of grief, yet He had compassion on the needs of others. Oh how I long to be this compassionate. I want to view every opportunity as an opportunity to show my love for Christ by serving others. As we minister to others, we can trust that God will minister to us. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.
What a gift it is to now know the Lord, commune with Him through prayer, hold His Word in our hands, and as an extra special bonus, get to minister to and share all of this with others. While our role does have unique difficulties, it also has unique blessings. We get a front row seat to what God is doing in the lives of others. We get to weep with those hurting, rejoice with those rejoicing, provoke to good works those who are struggling, and all the while use it to grow us in our walk with Christ. Serving the Lord is a joy.
You know what’s the worst? Complaining, grumbling, and losing sight of this wonderful gift of being in the ministry. As the title of this post points out, this is the worst. Not the serving or the heartache or the unique struggles, but the lost focus on the gift of God’s grace it is to participate in such a unique part of His work.
Let’s continue forward, friends. I once heard a seasoned pastor say, “Forward ever. Backward never.” Let’s continue to live 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 and “warn the unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men, ever follow that which is good.” And do it with JOY, peace, and hope. To do so, we must obey the rest of the passage – “Rejoice, pray, and give thanks.” I especially love verse 21 where we are told to “hold fast that which is good.” On some days I picture myself literally clinging to “that which is good” as if my life depended on it. And you know what? There’s a dear one in my church congregation somewhere who is doing the same, and I need to be spiritually prepared to minister to and encourage her.
We are fellow-laborers. We are fellow-servants. As God has shown grace and kindness and servanthood to us, let us do the same for others. Let’s not focus on what someone else has or doesn’t have, or glamorize our role, or get bogged down by what someone did or didn’t do. Let’s run the race with patience and strive together, not for ourselves, but for the faith of the Gospel. May our conversation be, “ONLY as it becometh the Gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27.