Counsel for Office-Bearers’ Wives
My husband is an elder. I must admit, there have been times that I wished he wasn’t. Our family, busy with the routine of everyday life, has been affected by interruptions, evenings of my husband’s absence, phone calls, and visits. Have I painted a negative picture? For me, these things were perhaps negative in the beginning, but I have been given, by God’s grace, to be content with it, to even feel blessed and privileged to be part of this service to God.
Being an office-bearer can be a heavy load to bear. There are many meetings — sometimes late into the night — as well as family visitations, visiting the lonely and sick, sharing with those who are suffering and going through trials, and seeking to build up the next generation of leaders in the church by teaching catechism and mentoring young adults. This is all in addition to his own busy calling in life, having to provide and care for his family. But when he, with his wife, is able by God’s grace to look at everything from God’s eternal perspective, what a blessed calling and honorable work for the Lord they have! Then with joy and thankfulness they can use their God-given gifts to bring glory and honor to Him and use them for the furthering of His Kingdom.
In Haggai 2, the Lord encourages Zerubbabel and the people of Israel to be strong and promises, “I am with you.” This is a blessed promise for our church leaders as well, if they remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. And these are promises extended to office-bearers’ wives, too. We have a great responsibility to help and pray for our husbands. God did not create man to be alone; he needs help and support. Our husbands cannot effectively do their work if we ourselves are one of their greatest obstacles.
When my husband was first called to serve twelve years ago, our five children were very young. Sometimes it has been challenging for me to take care of our children in his absence. Sometimes I feel burdened when I see stress and care weighing heavy on him. There are times when we need to change our plans for the evening because of a phone call or visit. However, I have always prayed, from the beginning, that I would never be a hindrance to him as he serves the Lord and His church.
There are choices we can make. I can choose to begrudge his work, to bitterly wish he could stay home from a meeting. I can choose to feel sorry for myself when I have to celebrate my birthday alone because of a family visitation. I can choose to be angry at the person who called him during our supper hour, seeking for his advice and support. Or, with God’s unfailing help, I can choose to look at it from the eternal perspective and feel privileged to be part of this God-given service. I can choose to never complain to him about being away too much. I can choose to encourage my husband with the gifts he has to be able to help others. I can choose to praise God for giving us this beautiful way to serve Him by serving others! Above all, I can pray for my husband. Let us strive, as best we can, to help our husbands develop into the kind of men God wants for His church.
The Bible does not make a direct comment on any special role for office-bearers’ wives, with the possible exception of 1 Timothy 3:11, “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” Even though that pertains to every Christian wife, our husbands have a high calling in the church and we need to especially be aware of our walk and talk. Do we reflect Christ in our everyday living? Are we godly examples of simplicity, modesty, and love to those around us? Do we live with eternity in view, setting our affection on things above, not on things on the earth?
We may feel unqualified for this important role as a wife of an office-bearer. There may be times when we feel overwhelmed and discouraged that we are not the kind of wife and Christian God wants us to be. All of us need the cleansing blood of Christ. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Let God encourage us and our husbands with this promise in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”