I distinctly remember the day God gave me a message for my ministry as a pastor’s wife to my preacher-husband. I was kneeling over the homemade quilt which covered our bed, the one that my aunt and cousin lovingly sewed for our wedding gift a short year earlier. As I knelt and prayed in that tiny seminary campus apartment God spoke clearly my purpose in our future ministry as the preacher’s wife: “Make him shine.”
When we consider the lives of the prophets in Scripture, from Moses to Elijah, and Jeremiah; even Christ Himself, we might have visions of a glorious pastoral ministry with people flocking to hear our great preacher-husbands who proclaim God’s Word each week in our little corner of God’s world fall flat. The truth is that the majority of the messages that the prophets preached were ones of judgment and wrath, not full of flowery words leaving the hearers feeling good about themselves.
These men were persecuted in every way, mentally, emotionally, socially, and even physically. Our husbands can experience the same things, so they need us to support them and hold them up in this sacred and often difficult calling.
So…how can you as the wife of the prophet make his pulpit ministry shine? You need to know your God and His Word.
You need to love and know your God by cultivating intimacy with Him (see my previous article) all throughout your day and in every area of life if you’re going to have any knowledge to share with your husband as he prepares his messages each week. That requires abiding in God and praying faithfully for your husband that God will fill him with the Holy Spirit and make him faithful to give him the message that God would have him speak, regardless of how others may respond to it.
Next, you need to know His Word. One of my favorite examples to share with our pre-marital counseling couples when talking about differences in personalities has to do with my husband’s sermon preparations.
I am a morning person. I get up at 6:00 a.m. My husband, on the other hand, tells others (heretically, and in jest, of course) that God doesn’t wake up before 9:00 a.m.! As you can guess, his mind is working like a well-oiled machine at about 9:00 p.m. until midnight, right when I am checking out mentally. Inevitably, at about 10:30 p.m. or later as he is reading his commentaries in bed he’ll ask me some question like, “So…what does it really mean that Jesus was fully human and fully God?” or some other deep theological question that theologians have debated for years. The crazy thing is he really wants an answer… right then!
We always chuckle a bit, and then I try to put together an answer from my fogged brain that makes sense. At that point he’s learned to say, “think about it in the morning, and send me an email.” The next morning when my brain is working again I will examine the passage myself and send off thoughts to him that he can use when he’s ready to think again by…2:00 p.m., maybe!
We have to know and study the Word of God ourselves if we are going to be sounding boards our husbands can use to test their ideas throughout their study during the week. I find joy when I’m listening to my husband’s messages because, first of all, God uses his gifts to shepherd me; but it is also encouraging when something he shares from the pulpit reflects some of the thoughts I’ve shared with him in his preparations. That assures me that our discussions about the Scripture have enabled him to better communicate the message to our people.
I may not be the one up front speaking each week, but I know that by knowing my God and knowing His Word I have been able to love my preacher-husband and make his preaching ministry shine.
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