When asked what has been my greatest asset in ministry I unhesitatingly reply, ‘My wife!’ Mary has been my help-mate in every area of my life and ministry. From a human perspective without her I could not have had as fulfilled and successful ministries.
In 1 Corinthians 9:5 there is a snippet concerning the Apostle Peter in regards to the unsung role of an apostle’s wife. The Apostle Paul wrote, ‘Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?’ Why would Peter have Mrs. ‘Peter’ accompany him on at least some of his ministry ventures? Once again the silence of Scripture intrigues and teases the imagination. The macho apostle in a male chauvinistic world was uninhibited and unashamed to have his wife by his side. When Peter wrote about wives and husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-7 was it out of personal experience. Could he have been showing appreciation of a ‘one flesh’ relationship within ministry? It must have motivated him (with her encouragement?) to see converts separated by their faith woo and win their spouses to the Lord. His advice is still relevant.
There is another couple within Scripture about whom we know a little more and yet not enough.
Aquila and Priscilla stand out as a wonderful, faithful,
energetic couple. Something which has aroused some commentary responses are the
occasions when Priscilla is given precedence over her husband. Again we do not
know much about their relationship or up-bringing. We do however gain insights
about their team ministry. It wouldn’t be far from the mark to say they were
comfortable with each other’s role. Neither would have felt threatened when the
other was mentioned first in despatches. How different it has been with some
others in the ministry.
The male ego is often fragile while at the same time lapping up the ‘crumbs’ of public applause. Sometimes an immature personality is unsettled or jealous when his wife receives accolades for her exercising gifts and abilities. The attitude of Diotrephes (3 John) can be rampant within the minister’s house as well as with a local congregation. Where, O where, is the beautiful Biblical incentive of ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others’ Philippians 2:3, 4. In the context of a minister’s relationship with his wife and her expressions of ministry surely the same rule applies.
Proverbs 4:5-9 is about Wisdom. This information can be so easily applied to a minister’s wife by her husband. There is great benefit to him personally and therefore to his ministry in treating his wife as Proverbs explained Wisdom. The word ‘Wisdom’ has been changed in the following passage to ‘wife.’
‘Do not forsake your wife, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you… Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendour.’ Such an outlook releases the wife to express her gifts and abilities with the husband’s encouragement and pride. The consequences of all this trust is to enrich her life and expands her love, respect and admiration for her man. The testimony of such a mutual ministry and relationship is a wonderful attraction and a strong challenge.
When Adam was created God gave Eve to him to be the man’s help mate. There wasn’t any intention of competition or inferiority. God’s principle inherent in that relationship still exists and should be best expressed within the marriage of a minister and his wife.
Reflection: How well do I release my wife to fulfil the Lord’s calling upon her life? Do I have any idea what it may be?
Request: I love my wife and I thank you for her role in our mutual ministry. May I be sensitive to her needs and help her to fulfil your gifts and abilities. Amen!