Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pastors - My diatribe about your wife.

The professor said, “Your wife will either double your ministry or she will cut it in half.” He meant well. But he implied that my wife was somehow separate from my ministry. This attitude sees the ministry as the priority over the marriage. The wife exists for the ministry. A man hardens toward his imperfect wife. He worships appearances. She becomes a tool.

YOUR WIFE IS YOUR MINISTRY. – Your home is not separate from your flock. No earthly prize is worth your family.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 ESV)
God made you strong – to love her weakness. You don’t own her, Jesus does.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)
If you can’t love your own wife – why would Christ trust you with his? To think she is holding back your ministry is like saying Christ’s Church is holding you back.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:28-30 ESV)
Shepherd your own soul – then your family – then your public ministry.
No one can be a pastor if he fails to pastor his own soul - no one can be a pastor who does not pastor his own family.


Shawn L said...

So true. I don't like what your professor said as well, how sad.

God doesn't say we can minister based on the performance of our wives, this is ludicrious. God is glorified in the sufferings of the saints even saints who are loving yet ridiculed in their own marriage and love Christ anyway, it's a display of the glory of God.

I think husbands whose wife's don't respect them and yet they still love as Jesus said are the most people who can minister the way Jesus has called us sacrifically.

I don't have that as a wife in any sense of the word, but to me those wives who don't do their jobs doesn't in anyway negate the commands to love our wives or the ability to hamper our ministry.

Love of course is our primary command found in Ephesians 5.

Anyone with enough time to really meditate on Ephesians 5 will realize and recognize how much of a ministry of the word we have to give our wives to do the same that Jesus does with the truth of God.

To make her as a pure spotless bride through the encouragement of the word and the provoking of good works.....

Tony K. said...

Good comments, thanks Shawn.

Kevin Sorensen said...

Tony, Just discovered your blog and it will make my Bloglines Feed List for daily viewing. Thanks.

Just a quick comment on this "diatribe". Being a pastor myself for over 20 years, I agree with what you said. However, I took the original comments in a much different way: not for pastors to decide between wife or ministry, but that a godly wife who lovingly supports her pastor-husband in his ministry will double the effects and impact of that ministry as opposed to a wife who is either reluctantly a pastor's wife (at best) or (at worst) despises being a pastor's wife because of all that comes along with that position. (Sorry for the lengthy Pauline sentence there!). I have personally known three pastors who's ministries were always short-lived in their respective churches (and now each is out of the ministry) because they had a wife who despised being a pastor's wife. These men were good husbands and fathers; their choice of spouse however came before their call to ministry and sadly for all involved, this was not part of the equation to consider.

So, while I'll defend what you say about loving our wives first, I'll also stick to my "guns" about being "unequally yoked" in the ministry (not implying Christians married to non-Christian here; implying one called to ministry and one who, whether called or not, despises that calling).

God bless.


Tony K. said...

I think what you said was more the professors intent. However, his audience was men who were mostly married and preparing for the ministry. For them the message must be, “LOVE YOUR WIVES.” Now for young guys not married it might be a good conversation. So my point was a little circular.

Bottom line, the effects of the marriage (good or bad ministry) must not become the reason for the marriage (treating your wife like a tool). The Bible commands men to love their wives, even when the wife is not perfect. That should be the focus, not the impact of her on our ambitions. Thank for the insights.

G. F. McDowell said...

I'd like to suggest that perhaps Shawn's post wasn't all that coherent. I am still not really sure that he really disagrees with your prof.

G. F. McDowell said...

Quoting shawn,
"I think husbands whose wife's don't respect them and yet they still love as Jesus said are the most people who can minister the way Jesus has called us sacrifically."

If I read this correctly, he seems to assert that preachers with disrespectful wives are those who can minister the most. I don't think Hosea/ Gomer is the paradigm for the preaching ministry in the church today, nor should it stand as one.
Later, quoting again,

"to me those wives who don't do their jobs doesn't in anyway negate the commands to love our wives or the ability to hamper our ministry."

I agree with his first point, that being married to a difficult wife does not negate the groom's responsibility to her, but his second point goes against the rest of his post; I agree with him again when he asserts that "those wives who don't do their jobs doesn't in anyway [sic] negate... the ability to hamper our ministry." I think there is no question but that a resentful wife will hamper ministry, but that seems to be diametrically opposed to what Shawn wrote earlier. Could someone clarify?

Tony K. said...

I think we need to define ministry “success” before we can say a certain type of wife will “hindrance.” I’m not qualified to give an exhaustive definition of success. But I think the focus should be on faithfulness. Does the ministry pray for his flock? Does the ministry preach the Word? Doe the minister love the church? Is the minister an example of godliness? Marital issues or other suffering would not prevent the discharge of these duties.