Gentle Mary Laid Her Child, a 1919 Christmas carol about the importance of the Christ Child, describes Mary in only one word. Gentleness. In our time, women would shun being called just gentle. Today, many women want to be described as strong, accomplished, extraordinary or even self-assertive. Furthermore, some think the "song" is mainly about them.
In an online article called "What Are the Qualities of a Strong Woman and How to Get Them," Omar Negron said, "They (strong women) always put their dreams over anything else. They recognize their strengths and use them as leverage to be successful in life." This is not gentle Mary. And, it is not biblical.
But, women's magazines and internet postings promote this philosophy every day. Pastors' wives are not immune to the pressure to be the victorious arbiters of their own successful destinies. They could be tempted to forget their real stronghold and to take things into their own hands. So, we need to pray for our pastors' wives to be gentle.
Here are some areas where we can pray for the pastor's wife.
Her speech. Women are verbal creatures, and their tongues can get them into trouble. A pastor's wife might have a disagreement with her husband, an ongoing discipline problem with her child or a difference of opinion with a church committee. Please pray that she will speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle and show perfect courtesy toward all people. (Titus 3:2) Pray, too that she will speak soft words, and, thereby, turn away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)
Her witness. Christians are called to be zealous for the truth of the gospel, but they have to acknowledge that they are sinners, too. A pastor's wife might be leading a women's Bible study when a particular sin comes up in the passage. She might witness to her neighbor. Or, she may be irked by the foibles of a fellow Christian. In each case, the pastor's wife needs gentleness in approaching others. Pray for her that she will bear with people in love, humility, patience and gentleness. (Ephesians 4:2) Please ask God that she will defend the faith with all gentleness and respect. (I Peter 3:15, II Timothy 2:25) Pray that this woman would be able, when necessary, to restore others in a spirit of gentleness. (Galatians 6:1)
Pray that the pastor's wife will be able to say, with the apostle Paul, "Nor did we seek glory from people...but we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children." (I Thessalonians 2: 6, 7) Pray that she would be gentle, like Mary.
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December 8, 2014
Posted by Megan /Topics: Faith
“But the fruit of the Spirit is. . .faithfulness” Gal. 5:22
For the past few weeks, my email inbox has been stuffed with requests for help. “Can you please come on Friday to help with the school play?” “Would you send a casserole for the faculty breakfast?” “Could you send money for the teacher gift?” “Will you be a field trip chaperone?”
Can you? Could you? Will you? Would you?
Some of these requests I decline. . .or intentionally ignore. . .or neglect in my inbox so long they no longer apply. But some of them I accept. And next Thursday, the room mother expects me to show up ready to drive for a field trip, and on Friday morning I’d better be at the school to take down the set from the class play.
I said I’d do it. I must be faithful.
Matthew Henry defines “faithfulness” in Galatians 5:22 as “fidelity, justice, and honesty, in what we profess and promise to others.” What we say, we should do. This is what David had in view in Psalm 15 when he describes the godly person as the one who “swears to his own hurt and does not change.” (v.4)
In ministry life, too, a pastor’s wife must be faithful. If she says she will attend, bring, sing, speak, invite, visit, greet, call, text, help, remember; if she says she will organize or facilitate or teach; if she says she will pray, she must. Even to her own hurt.
Because God himself is the faithful one.
When Moses asks him to show himself, God answers by declaring his own name: “The Lord, the Lord. . .abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Ex. 34:6) And at the end of Isaiah’s familiar passage promising a Messiah whose “reign shall have no end,” we read these words of guarantee: “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Is. 9:7) What God says he will do.
Every assigned casserole delivered, every requested email sent, every promised prayer offered stands as a tiny reflection of our faithful God. And by it we teach others about him. Our own faithfulness is a small flame from the great blaze of his zeal, and serves humbly to illuminate the path for others—tiny flickering luminaries lining a path leading to the eternally faithful source of all warmth and light.
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