“Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13).
A pastor’s wife has plenty of people to love. She has her husband, and perhaps children. She may have parents or siblings. She’s got friends from her past, friends in her community, friends online. She may have co-workers or bosses. And she’s got the church.
The church is certainly a unit (the Bible calls it a vine and a building and a body) but it is not homogenous or generic—lovable in some abstract way. The church is a gathering of unique individuals, with unique needs and gifts and personalities. Christ laid down his life for each one, and so, too, the pastor’s wife willingly lays down her own priorities and time and preferences for the good of the individuals in her church.
In short, she loves them.
Recently, someone told me the story of a pastor’s wife on the foreign mission field in a place made chaotic by strife between people-groups. When Christians back in the United States asked how they could pray for her, she replied, “Pray that I would not have contempt for the people I am serving.”
Most pastor’s wives won’t have the experience of church members fighting to the death over territory, but each pastor’s wife will encounter individuals she finds it difficult to love. Pray that, in the strength of Christ, she will.
I have a friend who frequently asks me , "Would you pray that I could be what my husband and kids need?" Every time she asks, I am freshly astounded by her humility and love. She is a very gifted woman who would have much to offer her family. She understands the Scriptures, the human body, and children better than almost anyone I know. But she doesn’t insist on always using those gifts. Instead, she is willing to be molded to exactly what her family needs, even if it’s dish-duty. This kind of self-giving, other-serving love is exactly what I’d like to have more of.
I pray for myself, and ask that my church would pray with me, that I would “abound in love” (I Thess. 3:12).