November 24, 2014

Pray for the Pastor's Wife: Kindness

"The fruit of the Spirit is. . .kindness."
(Gal. 5:22)

Yesterday, I was really kind.

I sang happy Scripture songs with wiggly kids before Sunday school, I provided fall-themed cupcakes for my husband's communicant's class, I gave homemade goodies as thank-yous to women who had helped me last week, I spoke to church visitors and those sitting on the edges.

Then, I bustled home and welcomed people for lunch. I ladled comforting soup into bowls, I refilled glasses with Southern sweet tea, I brewed coffee and sliced pies.

In the evening, I headed back to church, greeted people ditto, and--to top it all off--managed to produce from the depths of my minivan the necessary set of battery jumper cables for a family stuck in the church parking lot.

Oh, I was really kind all right.


Until my own child, lying in his bed at 8:23PM called, "Mommy, can I have a drink?"

And my answer makes a liar out of all that went before: "Go. To. Sleep."

The woman who had cheerfully filled countless glasses of water was done for the day. No water for you, kid.  Tough luck.

How unlike my Savior. Our Lord has many kindnesses which he gives to everyone ("who sends rain on the just and the unjust" Matt. 5:45) but His greatest kindnesses are poured out on his family--his beloved children ("when the goodness and loving kindness of our Savior appeared, he saved us" Tit. 3:4-5). My Savior doesn't run out of kindness for his children. He saves it up and displays it to them with greater fullness than all his other kindnesses combined.
Pray for the pastor's wife, that--particularly in this rush-rush season of kindness and generosity and hospitality--she would draw from the kindness of the Lord to be kind to those who are nearest her.  Pray that she would have compassion for the "least of these" (Matt. 25:40), not first as some abstract group of people, but as particular people: Children. Husbands. Siblings. Parents.

Pray that, pitcher in hand, she will have ready a cup of kindness. Even at bedtime.


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November 17, 2014

Pray for the Pastor's Wife: Patience

"Move with the Movers," was a popular concept with the leaders of my campus Christian group. Essentially, we were urged to concentrate our efforts on the students who embraced the ministry vision of our parachurch group and were willing to take it to the ends of the earth. Right away. The leaders implied that we were wasting time with those who balked.

In contrast to my idealistic college friends, Christians in my home church seemed dull and lethargic. They weren't staying up until 2 AM to witness to their neighbors. Church members were not spontaneously taking road trips to Christian events.

I had a shallow understanding of a deep Christianity that is tested by trial, and, I am ashamed to admit, I felt those local people were losers.

Oh, the impatience of youth!

Those of us who serve God in a local church need to realize that fellow believers are worth our love, time and patience. These precious Christians are the apple of God's eye. They are bought with a price. He hides them in the shadow of His wings. They are not losers.

Yes, sometimes they disagree with us or flaunt sinful behavior or share deep pains that we can hardly bear. But, if we are going to have an eternal impact on people in the church, we need to ask God for patience with them as they are sanctified. "See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient." James 5:7b, 8a

As God supplies patience, we start to see people as He does and not as those who get in our way on the path to "success." We can thank God for allowing us to witness progress in godliness that others make. This movement, however slow, is part of a pilgrimage that glorifies God.

As Eugene Peterson points out in his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society, all Christians need patience for the journey. Sisters, let's pray for it and wait for precious fruit.

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