(January 26, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share a timely reminder…
Several years before the Afghan conflict, 20/20’s Barbara Walters did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands. On a later revisit she observed that women still walked behind their husbands.
Despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, Afghani women still maintained the old custom. Approaching one she asked, ‘Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?’
The woman looked her straight in the eye, and without hesitation said, ‘Land mines.’
Moral (no matter what language you speak or where you go): Behind every man, there’s a smart woman!
A great wife is still a man’s greatest asset!
Every guy should know this and fully appreciate his wife, give God thanks for her and pray for her regularly. Proverbs 31:10-31 Mge is still a great read!
Solomon insightfully began his observations with ‘A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it’ and ended with ‘Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!’
Now this article isn’t just for ‘the ordinary guy in the church pew’ – it’s very important for ministers to take note of! Okay… we know that many pastors are ladies but we want to remind you male leaders that your wife is your greatest asset – a major gift from God, not only to enrich your life but to meaningfully assist you in your ministry.
Pastors are supposed to be setting a role model for the men in their church and should honour and respect their wife in every way. Peter gives good advice and a warning: ‘Be good husbands to your wives. Honour them, delight in them… in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground’ (1 Pet. 3:7 Mge).
Guys: Your wife is precious: Really love her!
To honour means to value, esteem to the highest degree and dignify by holding as precious.
Like Peter, Paul is equally straight to the point, commanding in Ephesians 5:33: ‘Let each man of you [without exception] love his wife’ (Amp).
‘Love’…that’s the same Greek word we use when describing Jesus’ incredible, amazing love for the world. Therefore a husband’s love and honour for his wife should be on the same high level!
When God created the first wife, he designated Eve’s role – ezer – ‘helper.’ That’s a word that describes aspects of God’s character – he’s our strength, rescuer, protector and help! This is what he intended her to be and it’s a choice word for any true Christian wife.
Every good wife is someone who provides value, strength and assistance to her husband. A pastor’s wife can be his and his church’s foremost blessing – if loved and treated properly by him.
Oh, smart Christian women know their place all right: It’s not five paces behind but alongside their man, assisting, protecting and divinely inspiring him to go higher, reach goals, go deeper and move further.
Listen to our wife!
Probably the greatest, but so often neglected, respect any husband can give his wife is to listen to her! But let’s think pastors and the pastor’s wife. Every good pastor’s wife picks up on bad news matters, senses trouble, and picks potentially dangerous people long before guys do and she cautions her husband. So often they see the spiritual land mines ahead and warn their men.
Yet how often we hear, ‘He doesn’t listen to me.’ And then pastors wonder what went wrong! Listen! Appreciate your wife’s wisdom and take her advice on board.
Keep her close! Another thing, guys…let your people know that you love and honour your wife – especially if she also is a leader. Don’t have her ‘walking behind you’ not because of literal land mines but because you don’t have her close by your side and your arm around her, close to your heart. Nothing unspiritual about that! It a good sign to your people that you really care and that you’re together in this on-the-edge adventure called ministry.
Here’s something that we’ve pointing out to churches for years…the Holy Spirit is still looking out for committed couples that he can really anoint, bless, commission and use in the great arena of life out there!
Think about it, guys… and don’t miss out. Love… honour and value your wife and ministry partner.
Some years back, we shared the heart of this with leaders. Mentioning neglected leader’s wives drew a great response of gratitude from a number of pastors’ wives. One later wrote: ‘Where were you two when we were pastoring? You cut across the waffle and hit the nail on the head, saying it as it really is! Keep on encouraging us with your spot-on, timely material.’
A missionary example
Every guy, leader (or ‘Plain Joe’) – learn from this true recollection!
Some decades ago the director general of a highly respected worldwide missionary society was shocked when he opened a letter from one of his mission fields. He froze as he read the contents.
‘My husband has been having an affair for several years now. He gives her so much attention, spends so much time with her and has shut me out of his thoughts and life. I’m losing respect for him. I feel so alone, so angry. In fact I feel so desperate that unless something changes soon, I’m leaving him, leaving here and the ministry.’
The DG reread the letter that had arrived from what was considered his organisation’s most successful Asian mission field.
It was from the wife of one of his top missionaries. A minister with an unblemished record who moved powerfully in the anointing of the Spirit and had developed an incredible work in Asia. Many souls had been won to Jesus and a great church had resulted. In fact it had daughter churches, even granddaughter churches! There had never been a hint of scandal or infidelity. What was going on? Deeply concerned the DG hurriedly read on.
The letter abruptly concluded: ‘By the way, the name of this other woman who so fascinates him is not his computer – although that’s bad enough – it’s …’ And she named the very church they had started together, ploughed so much into together and what he was obviously spending too much time on ahead of his wife, his first priority .
Oops! Big mistake!
Our heart concern here is the fact that any male leader can mistakenly put many other things, especially church life, ahead of his relationship with his wife – and will regret doing so if he doesn’t wake up, admit and face this gross mistake and correct it now!
To defensively exclaim, ‘But it’s the ministry and you better just understand that, Honey!’ is nothing less than a poor excuse for neglecting the most precious person God has given a church leader. And adding ‘Honey’ is a further knife in her heart. Satan has (again) broken in on a number of top frontline ministries over the past few years. Christians and the non-churched are left confused, disappointed, the name of Jesus and his church are ridiculed.
Sadly even some of the best Christian marriages have been under threat not only by the devil but also life’s unexpected curves and circumstances. And thoughtless husbands! One hears about ‘irreconcilable differences.’ Now we should always pray for troubled couples that we know and love, but ministers particularly should be aware that splits in Christian ministries’ marriages are a wake-up call to all leaders.
What we care about here (especially dear ministry male friends) is this… wisely guard your relationship with your spouse – your life-gift from God – so that nothing, not even church life, hurts either of you, affects your marriage and ministry, causes confusion in your church and shames the name of Jesus.
For decades we’ve always taught this: ‘The scriptural rule is Jesus first, then the following – spouse, family, career, ministry and only then the church (of course for some, ministry and career might be one).’
Not even ‘My busy ministry’ is an excuse to betray and hurt our real best friend! Remember a great but often overlooked truth…’irreconcilable differences’ are the result of years of neglecting really important matters.
Satan, Jezebel, Amalekite spirits and, sadly, male blindness are currently harming marriages and ministry. Be on guard! Consider how you personally stand in your own marriage and ministry. Remember Jesus’ Matthew 7:3 warning about people with planks!
An old saying: When a husband puts his wife first, above everything and everyone except God, then she feels secure, safe and honoured – something every woman longs for.
Hey… it’ll soon be Valentine’s Day. Hint, hint!