It’s not the first time for us. I came into the office the other day to find a desk where my brother has faithfully worked, now cleared.
Empty desk. Empty chair.
For years we have worked with, watched, and tried to train our brother for the work of ministry. We’ve learned together, laughed together, laboured together in prayer and in the day-to-day tasks of leading a church.
But now he’s gone. Gone to the work to which God has called him.
Looking at the empty desk, I can’t but wonder if we’ve done enough. There are so many things that remain untaught, unsaid. So many things I wish we could have talked about. So many ways I wish I could have been a better example. So many things I wish we could have better prepared him for.
Looking at the empty desk, I’m touched by sadness. This brother and his family have been so faithful, and grown so close to our hearts as individuals, and as a church family. Now they’re moving far away and who knows when we’ll be able to see them again?
Being a pastor’s wife is a tough calling. And it is one that very few women sign up for, knowing what they are getting into.
When you are a pastor’s wife there are high demands and lots of hard work. You know people have high expectations of you, but they are never clearly defined. There is only ever a vague sense of whether or not you’re meeting the standards of the people you’re aiming to serve.
Against the notion that ‘the pastor’s wife is special,’ pastors encourage our wives: Be a normal member, be a normal wife, be a normal mother. That sounds nice, doesn’t it?
But there are still unspoken pressures. You have to be exemplary.
If your home isn’t right, or if you don’t invite the right people over enough times, you’re not hospitable. Simply having a bad Sunday can mean that people think you’re unfriendly, or unwelcoming. If you have friends in the church, people may perceive you as ‘cliquey’ and say you have favourites. And if you don’t have friends, you might look ‘stand-offish’ or ‘unavailable.’
And on top of that you have a husband who, more often than not, works weird hours, feels burdened with anxiety for the church, and is weighed down by other people’s sins and sorrows (many of which he can’t share). He is relationally drained long before he enters the home at night — right when you need him to engage. And even in sharing your struggles with him you feel guilty, like you’re ‘piling on’ to someone who is already carrying too much.
But for the pastor’s wife who is truly, first of all, a wife to her husband, there is a great promise of great reward.
As we prepare for a new missions course at GFC, I wanted to learn how John Piper and the elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church laboured to create a vision and passion for missions in their local church. Here are seven discoveries and truths they have learned and taught.
We discovered that God is passionately committed to His fame. God’s ultimate goal is that His name be known and praised and enjoyed by all the peoples of the earth. (Matt 24.14; Isaiah 52.7; Rom 9.17; Isaiah 12.4; Rom 15.9)
We discovered that God’s purpose to be known and praised and enjoyed among all the nations cannot fail. It is an absolutely certain promise. (Matt 16.18; 28.18; Isaiah 46.10; Hab 2.14)
We discovered that the missionary task is focused on teaching unreached peoples, not just people — people groups, not just individuals — and is therefore finishable. (Matt 24.14; Rev 5.9)
We discovered that the scarcity of Paul-type missionaries has been obscured by the quantity of Timothy-type missionaries [by this he means that the number of workers who go overseas obscures the true number of those who go to the unreached, which is actually quite small]. (Timothy ministered in the young church in Ephesus, 1 Tim 1.3; Paul went to the unreached, Rom 15.20)
We discovered that domestic ministries are the goal of frontier missions, and frontier missions is the establishment of domestic ministries.
We have come to see that God ordains suffering as the price and the means of finishing the Great Commission. (Matt 24.9, 14; Col 1.24; Matt 10.16; Luke 21.16-18)
Finally, we have discovered that God is most glorified in us when we are so satisfied in Him that we accept suffering and death for His sake in order to extend our joy to the unreached peoples of the earth. (2 Cor 4.17; Phil 3.8; Heb 13.12-14)
This video below pretty much says it all. Charles Woodrow is an evangelical doctor from the USA who left a comfortable life to serve those who could never repay him… kind of gospel-like, don’t you think? Please watch the video and give as the Lord has enabled you. But regardless of whether you can give or not, please don’t move on from this post without stopping to pray for him and for the hospital. Here is real and genuine need, and the gospel is the only thing that can give hope to this country.