The Benefits of Christianity

The light of the world

What are the benefits of Christianity?  The days when most people saw the Christian Church as a necessary part of Western Culture are long gone. Studies of how North Americans and Europeans make choices in the early twenty-first century show that when making important decisions, most people think in terms of personal fulfillment and well being, rather than of Christian values.

This is a significant shift away from the thinking of much of the twentieth century, when Christian values were the template for decision-making. Christian believers may bemoan this trend but, like it or not, it would appear that this way of thinking will be around for the foreseeable future.  So maybe Christianity should be evaluated from a new, more pragmatic perspective.  What, then, are the benefits of Christianity in society? Let me suggest a few of the positive outcomes of Christianity in society.

Better marriages

The presence of churches that teach biblical family values results in more couples staying together.  I am not just talking about husbands and wives who agree to remain married under difficult circumstances, but also about couples who discover a deeper and more lasting love for one another because of their relationship to God.  Many Christians can attest that a commitment to one’s spouse, a willingness to work though issues, and a dependence upon God for wisdom and strength has saved marriages that otherwise would have ended in divorce court.

Better family life

Along with husbands and wives staying together, there tend to be fewer problems raising children when families are involved in church. “Parents– don’t exasperate your children, but bring them up in the teaching and discipline of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), is a valuable principle at a time when families are breaking down in record numbers. Churches that teach the Bible by precept and example tend to have a higher percentage of intact and reasonably healthy families.

Lasting relationships

People are moving so fast in our century that it is difficult to form deep, long-term friendships.  Again, churches that teach the Bible’s perspective on relationships tend to produce people who know how to befriend others and work through issues.  Churches also provide venues for meeting people who desire lasting friendships.  In many Christian circles, it is a rather routine thing to meet people who have remained friends over many years and weathered some pretty difficult circumstances together.

Personalized care

One of the best kept secrets is the fact that churches regularly provide free counseling, not only to their members, but often to virtually anyone who desires it.  Many churches have pastors or staff members who are trained and gifted in the art of listening to people, helping them understand the dynamics behind their situation and offering practical, biblical advice toward a solution.  Obviously the more people who receive this care, the healthier a community becomes. This is especially refreshing in a time when people are sometimes seen as figures on a spreadsheet, rather than as persons who are valuable in themselves.

Character-building

While it is not the only voice in society encouraging people to become more than they are, the Christian Church performs this role as well. Not only does it encourage people to dream large dreams and achieve great things, but it also builds character in ways that few others are: correction.  Where can you go in twenty-first century Western Culture to have someone tell you the honest truth about yourself?  I know that this sort of thing seems out of fashion these days. I also know that constructive criticism can be abused.  But when a person is involved in things that are self-destructive and harmful to others, isn’t it a good thing that there are venues where people can be lovingly confronted and helped to find a new path in life?

Finding God

When people get tired of the rampant materialism and the pursuit of personal fulfillment, many crave something more substantial. Christianity promises that if anyone desires to find God, God is willing to be found. In fact, the truth is even better than that. God has made himself very accessible by becoming one of us, living as we live and doing what was necessary for us to have full and abundant relationship with him.  Of course I am speaking of Jesus Christ as the Son of God made human.

I am aware that some people reject this basic Christian belief. Other religions teach that people must attain some ultimate spiritual goal through hidden knowledge, austere self-denial, or the offering of something precious to win God’s favor. The core Christian message is so simple and so accessible that some people object that it is too good to be true.  A person may be welcomed into relationship with God simply by putting their trust in Jesus. Trusting in Jesus means believing that he is who he claimed to be: the Son of God; accepting his self-sacrifice in payment for your wrongdoing; and embracing his offer to join with you in making you new from the inside out.

The irony is that faith in Jesus actually brings the personal fulfillment that has eluded many people all their lives. Far from being a narrow or exclusionary faith, Christianity is incredible inclusive.  Faith in Jesus is something a small child can do. It is something a mentally disabled person can exercise. The basic message of Christianity is truly trans-cultural, finding those in every ethnicity who resonate with its good news.  It embraces both men and women.  It reaches every strata of society. The good news of Christianity changes lives when nothing else can.

All this and more come with an active Christian presence in society. Those who are concerned with the welfare of their communities would do well to make certain that churches are free to do what they do so well: benefit communities and positively change lives, one by one.

Passion Week 4: Relating to Jesus’ resurrection

Jesus is risen!

Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday of Passion Week changed everything!  Out of all the followers of Jesus, only a few of the women were able to keep their wits enough to focus on practical things. Several of the women got up very early on Sunday morning, met at an agreed location, and set out together for the tomb to finish embalming Jesus’ body . As the walked through the darkness, the women must have quietly discussed both the heartache they still felt, and the task ahead. Specifically they wondered how they were going to roll aside the great stone that sealed the entrance.

Upon arrival, the women were stunned to find a scene of confusion. The stone weighing several tons, was not only rolled aside, but seemingly tossed aside some distance away. The Roman guard was dispersed and the tomb was empty.  Not knowing what else to do, they began the return journey to inform their friends. Mary Magdalene lingered behind because she wanted to ask what had happened of a man she presumed to be the gardener.  It was only when the man spoke her name that she realized he was actually Jesus, fully alive.

There were other experiences that day. After being urged by the women to see for themselves, Peter and John ran to the tomb and confirmed that it was empty.   Other followers of Jesus had been on their way home to figure out how to restart their lives– only to meet a fellow traveller, who they suddenly recognized to be Jesus at the end of the day’s journey.  Later Jesus appeared to his disciples when they were together in the upper room.  On still another occasion, Jesus appeared among the disciples when Thomas, who had been absent before, was present.

After his resurrection, Jesus seems to have been physically with his disciples a number of times during a period of several weeks, both in Jerusalem and in Galilee. Imagine the emotional swings they must have experienced during those days.  In all of their discussions with Jesus, one thing was certain to these men and women: Jesus had come to life again after dying. His death was no tragic accident, but a supreme payment of human transgression. Most importantly, Jesus had shown himself to be the Son of God by taking on a new kind of life: a life he was offering to share with them.

There are many truths to be gained from the resurrection of Jesus.  One that should always be emphasized is the almost unbelievable fact that you now have hope.  The gracious God, who loved and pursued us through history, has never given up on your reconciliation. For reasons of his own, God wants you back and has done all that is needed to forgive you, cleanse you, and make you his own. The resurrection proves this almost unbelievable fact.  So, next time life seems hopeless– next time your heart is broken, or weighed down with worry, remember that there is hope in Jesus’ resurrection. Put your full trust in him. Hold onto the gift of life he offers you.  It will guide you through all that life brings your way, and will bring you eternal life with him!

Passion Week 3: Relating to Jesus’ suffering

Jesus’ death and burial

It is on Saturday of Passion Week that fear really took hold.  Jesus’ followers– scattered the day before– have gone into hiding. They were terrified of betrayal by their neighbors or other who might recognize their connection with Jesus.  That Saturday of Passion Week, every footstep in the street, every knock at the house next door, every raised voice, caused the terror to rise to the surface again. The extreme disillusionment and sorrow of Friday is taking its toll on Saturday. Life is not simply flat and gloomy: now it is horrifying.

Had God abandoned them?  Were they heretics as their enemies claimed? Was Jesus a liar or a misguided fool? In their minds, the fishing, or the collecting of taxes, the farming and small businesses of their former lives now appeared to be a respectable alternative to all the talk about the coming Kingdom of God.  What about the miracles, the crowds and the new hope inspired by Jesus’ teaching over the past several years?  These now appeared foolish and even dangerous.  So the followers of Jesus quietly made their plans to slip back north up to Galilee and just disappear.  Fear had caused a sudden abandonment of everything these men and women had so optimistically believed as recently as one week before.

Many of us have experienced (or are experiencing) this kind of fear.  That deep kind of fear is dark and overpowering.  It makes us desperate and irrational.  It can cause us to be suspicious of those around us.  We feel like cornered animals with no way of escape.  So we crouch, ready to fight and flee, abandoning all we once held dear. Threatened layoffs at work, accusations by associates, a medical diagnosis or some huge disillusionment can have this effect on us.  Are you in the grip of fear? Are you considering throwing away some of your dearest commitments?  Do you feel abandoned by God?  Hold on: God isn’t finished.  Hope is just around the corner!

Passion Week 2: Relating to Jesus’ suffering

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The crucifixion

It is  Friday of Passion Week.  Jesus had been awake for more than twenty-four hours.  At this point in what we now call Passion Week, Jesus had endured the difficult interrogation by the Sanhedrin (the Jewish religious council) all alone.  Both during and afterward, Jesus was beaten and humiliated.  His friend Peter had managed to enter the courtyard of the High Priest where Jesus was being held, but when Peter was asked if he was one of Jesus’ followers, he strongly denied it in Jesus’ very presence.

Then Jesus was shuffled off to Pilate, who quickly passed him off to Herod Antipas.  Herod humiliated Jesus and then returned him to Pilate for final judgment. We should remember that Pilate was in a difficult spot.  As Roman governor felt blackmailed by the Sanhedrin into sentencing Jesus to death.  Seeing no way out of the predicament, Pilate made it clear Jesus had violated no Roman law.  Even so, after a whipping that left little skin on Jesus’ back and resulting in a catastrophic loss of blood, the Romans forced Jesus to carry a heavy wooden beam through the streets.  Before he reached the place of execution, Jesus stumbled and fell.  A bystander named Simon was then forced to carry the cross on the final leg of the journey.

At the place the Romans called Calvary (Skull Hill), Jesus was nailed to the crossbeam and the crossbeam was attached to post to which Jesus’ feet were spiked.  There Jesus hung from 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon.  At noon a darkness came over the sky as Jesus increasingly lost strength.  With a final cry of agony, he gave up his spirit, causing the veil in the Temple to split from top to bottom.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two members of the Sanhedrin who refused to condemn Jesus, asked for and received permission from Pilate to remove Jesus’  body for burial.  Joseph kindly offered his own unused family tomb for the purpose.  The burial party was under the pressure of time due to the commandment not to work on the Sabbath, which would begin at sundown–only a few hours away.  Because of this pressure the burial preparations were only partially completed.  One last caress by Mary, his mother and a mental note of the preparations still to be made, and they sealed the tomb.

But isn’t Jesus the miracle worker?  Isn’t he the Messiah, the Son of God?  How could God let him be treated like this?  Is God just a myth, or is he like the disciples who abandoned Jesus in his hour of need?  Maybe the skeptics are right when they sneer that nice guys always finish last.  Maybe the cynics are proven correct that evil ultimately crushes good and might trumps right.  The followers of Jesus were in deep shock.  For them, the crucifixion was more than a major disappointment: it was the crushing of all hopes and dreams. They were facing the real possibility that life ultimately favors whoever has the power to force their will on others. These are hardly the thoughts that faithful Jews should have had on the sabbath following Passover.

Have you ever felt abandoned and punished unjustly?  Have you wondered why evil sometimes seems to triumph?  Why is it that selfish and self-righteous people appear to prevail?  Those are truly desolate and terrifying thoughts, and many people have them.  Jesus’ friends and followers certainly felt that way at the foot of the cross and at the sealing of Jesus’ tomb.  But hold on: God isn’t finished. Hope is just around the corner!

Passion Week 1: Relating to Jesus’ suffering

Calvary

Think back to the busiest week of your life.  Maybe there were many places to go or you had to fulfill a crushing list of responsibilities.  Perhaps you hosted a constant stream of visitors, or received phone calls from people wanting favors small and large.  At the end of the week you were physically and mentally exhausted.  This is what that final week was like for Jesus.   We now refer to that week in Jesus’ life as Passion Week.

Jesus began Passion Week by riding into Jerusalem to the enthusiastic cheers of the crowds who hailed him as their Messiah-King.  From Sunday onward, Jesus had taught in the Temple every day.  He had tried to listen to the requests and meet the needs of dozens, maybe hundreds of people.  Passion Week saw Jesus awash in a sea of humanity.   Now it is Thursday—the day of Passover: time to spend time with family and friends; time to focus on Israel’s great story of deliverance from slavery and their becoming a covenant nation.

But even on this day of celebration and reflection, Jesus must teach his followers some final lessons. So taking a towel, he washed their feet as a metaphor of servant-leadership. He spoke at great length in the upper room where he and his followers were meeting, reminding them of how much they are loved by the Father, and how inseparable they are from himself.  He told them that they would soon be empowered by God’s Spirit living inside them and commanded them to cling desperately to each other.  On the night of Passover, Jesus broke the unleavened bread and poured the cups of wine, filling these elements with special meaning his followers would not grasp until many weeks into the future.

Then came  the desperate, desolate hours of prayer in Gethsemane.  In that grove of olive trees, Jesus sweat blood and cried out in agony at what he knew awaited him the next day.  His suffering was enhanced by his followers’ drowsy lack of concern, and by the ultimate betrayal of a close friend.   At his arrest, the very disciples who seemed so confident and fearless only hours ago promptly scattered, leaving Jesus utterly alone.

Jesus will face trial before a hostile council on this last Thursday of his earthly life. Humanly speaking, everything seemed to have gone wrong.  There is no hope.   Without the rest of the story, Thursday night seems to be all gloom and sorrow, much like some days we have experienced ourselves in a more limited way.  But hold on: God isn’t finished. Hope is just around the corner!

What to do when you have been wronged?

Everybody has a problem with someone sometime. Maybe a friend has wronged you by saying something negative about you in your presence or behind your back. Maybe you feel you have been cheated in business, or treated unfairly in some way by a neighbor or a family member.  Inside you may experience feelings of frustration, and even anger.  You may even feel a desire to retaliate, but deep inside you know that retaliation solves nothing. What should you do?

Common Errors

First let’s look at a couple of common approaches.  Some people suffer in silence. Instead of doing anything, they just simmer in their frustration.  Using this approach, unresolved frustration can become bitterness in a very short time.  If this is what you are experiencing, your silence is only hurting yourself.

Clearly, there may be situations when taking no action is the best way to handle things. For instance, Proverbs 19:11 says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offense.” If you can simply forgive and forget a wrong from the very beginning, it is to your credit and is sometimes the best way to prevent further hurt.

Another approach is to complain to a third party.  Proverbs 17:9 speaks to this course of action: “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”  It is rarely, if ever, a good thing to involve another person in a matter that doesn’t directly concern them.  It can damage important relationships.  Though you may feel good sharing your frustration with someone who is sympathetic, it probably will do you no good in the long run.  People often justify involving other people because they feel need for someone to talk to.  Once again, there may indeed be situations in which godly advice is required. However, when a third party is brought in only to bolster your own side of things and share your anger,  it is unproductive.

God’s Way: Reconciliation

So, neither suffering in silence nor complaining are effective ways to solve conflicts.  OK.  What’s left?   In Matthew 18:15, Jesus gave God’s perspective on dealing with anger and hurt: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”  In other words, Jesus teaches us to go directly to the person we are offended by as soon as possible in order to work out reconciliation. This is God’s way, and it achieves some wonderful results. For instance:

  • It prevents a relatively small conflict from developing into serious anger and animosity.
  • It prevents other people from getting caught up in a problem that really doesn’t concern them.
  • It may lay the foundation for a new relationship with the person who has offended you.
  • It results in a clear conscience on your part for having tried to do what is right, and can bring real inner peace until your own conscience is clear.

Your Attitude

As long as we’re making lists, here is what the Bible says about how you should interact with the person you experience conflict with:

  • Go to them in humility. Remember, there may be a point of view in the situation that you haven’t considered.
  • Go determined to seek true justice. If you are even partly wrong, admit it and seek forgiveness. If restitution needs to be made, do your best to make it.
  • Go in love. That is, never go to the person with the idea of humiliating them. Seek the peace and welfare of all concerned.

One more issue remains to be mentioned: What if your efforts are not well received? If you have truly made an effort to do what is right and seek peace with this person, then reconciliation becomes their problem. You cannot force them either to forgive you or to admit their own wrong. Pray for them and continue to be open should circumstances and attitudes change. You will have one very precious thing, however: the deep satisfaction that comes from having done things God’s way!

 

 

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Jesus is Risen!

Empty Tomb

Millions of Christians believe that Jesus is risen.  Yet, is there evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?  In recent years some theologians have claimed that history shows no evidence that the resurrection of Jesus ever happened.  These theologians stated that they are confident that Jesus of Nazareth stayed dead, and that his remains still lie undiscovered somewhere near Jerusalem.

Some people shrug off the claim that Jesus is risen as merely an academic debate for scholars to solve. Don’t be fooled: the entire Christian faith depends upon the truth of the resurrection of Jesus.  If it is true, as these theologians claim, that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then the central beliefs of Christianity are proven to be nothing more than wishful thinking.  Not only that, but the teachings of the New Testament are outdated and false, and the hopes of millions of believers for personal resurrection are misplaced.

Other religions can survive the deaths of their founders. Buddhism admits that the Buddha is dead and gone because it is built around his teachings, not the man himself. Muslims are not disturbed that Muhammad died. Again, it is the words of the prophet that are important, not the man himself.

But when it comes to Christianity, everything stands or falls upon the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. His physical resurrection from the dead has always been the prime proof of that central doctrine.  No resurrection, no Christianity: it’s that simple.  Yet if the resurrection is a fact of history, then all Jesus’ claims are shown to be true. The Church’s proclamation that Jesus is Lord, and that people must humbly receive him as lord is also true. That explains why for twenty centuries some have attempted to dismiss the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

The Testimony of the Women

Consider the powerful facts that the early church presented to prove their announcement that Jesus is risen: First the evidence of the women. A group of women who had been followers of Jesus observed his hasty burial on Friday afternoon. Early on Sunday morning they went to the tomb to finish preparing the body.  As they walked to the tomb, the women had no idea that their teacher would rise from the dead.  When they arrived the women found the large stone sealed weighing several tons, cast aside from the entrance. The Roman guard was in shock. The tomb itself was empty. They were completely bewildered by this and could only think that perhaps someone had removed Jesus’ body without telling them. The women then encountered angels who told them Jesus was risen. They were told to inform the disciples of this fact. On their way to do so, these women were the first to actually see and touch the risen Christ.

The Testimony of the Disciples

The evidence of the disciples confirms the  story of the women that Jesus is risen.  They no expectation that Jesus would overcome death. So when the women gave them the news, they dismissed it as hysteria.  Even so, Peter and John decided to see what the situation was at the tomb and ran the short distance to investigate. Like the women, they saw the stone removed, the Roman guard dispersed and tomb empty. Peter actually went inside and found the linen bands that the body had been wrapped in still in place—but empty of the body. This still did not convince these men that Jesus was alive. It was not until later that Jesus appeared to them and demonstrated that he was real and alive by eating food and allowing them to touch him.

The Testimony of the Soldiers

How about the evidence of the soldiers who had guarded the tomb against the possibility that Jesus’ followers might fake a resurrection by stealing the body?  After less than thirty-six hours, these disciplined men who were under strict orders, left the tomb unguarded.  They reported to the Sanhedrin (the Jewish leadership council) that there had been an earthquake and that the tomb was open and empty.  Whether they mentioned the angel they had seen is not clear. The council bribed the soldiers and ordered them to spread the story that the disciples had stolen the body.

Is this story is hardly believable though?  Its hard to believe that the disciples, who had been terrified for their own lives, could overcome a detachment of experienced Roman soldiers, enter the sealed tomb and remove the body. Jerusalem was crowded with people at the time, so they would have had to somehow conceal the body elsewhere without being seen.  No commando unit in the world could do that!  Yet the story that Jesus’ body was stolen was  the best explanation that Jesus’ critics could come up with on the spur of the moment since they could not deny that the tomb was now empty.

The Lack of Falsification

Consider this as well: the early Church preached the resurrection of Jesus in the weeks and months following the crucifixion in the very place where it occurred.  There were many people still around who testified to having actually seen and touched the risen Jesus. The location of Jesus’ tomb was a matter of public knowledge.  The fact that it was empty could be verified by anyone who wished to do so. If the body had been removed and hidden, surely someone would have observed it.  Eyewitnesses could have come forward to reveal where Jesus’ body was hidden, and the body could have been produced as evidence against the resurrection.  But no body was ever found, which is hard to imagine given the very public and sensational nature of these events.

The Evidence of History

Finally, for those who still have doubts, consider the evidence of subsequent history.  What about the willing martyrdom of the very men and women who supposedly faked a resurrection they knew never happened?  Tens of thousands of people who lived near Jerusalem at the time rendered their verdict by believing in Jesus and paying a high price for that belief.  How do you explain the millions of people since then whose lives have been changed by the power of Christ?  Are millions of changed lives just wishful thinking on a massive scale? How about the almost inconceivable survival and spread of early Christianity under extreme persecution?

Seen together, the body of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is extremely compelling.  In view of such strong evidence, will you join the voices of millions of Christians during this upcoming Easter season in the traditional, joyful proclamation?  He is risen!  Yes, risen indeed!

 

Pastor’s Wife: Hardest Job in the World

Pastor’s Wife: Hardest Job in the World

What is the hardest job in the world? This question is debated in workrooms, bars and coffee shops around the world. One position which is usually overlooked but which should be considered as a serious contender for the honor is that of pastor’s wife. Living quietly in this world are a small company of women who are married to men in ministry of one type or another. They receive far too little credit for what they do. By the way, there are some men married to women in ministry who deserve some long-overdue recognition as well.

The pastor’s wife: you can often see her after worship, standing with her husband greeting people or sometimes visiting with scattered groups of folks. At other times these women are not seen because they are working in the nursery, recruiting volunteers or counseling privately with someone.

Wives of ministers come in all shapes and sizes: young and not-so-young; vivacious and reserved; creative and methodical, punctual or late; musical and tone-deaf. Some even play the piano. The proven truth is that a minister’s wife can make or break him. Men who survive in ministry almost always do so because their wives are supportive and regarded as an asset by the congregation.

Why so hard?

So why do I insist that the job of a pastor’s wife is so hard? There is no labor union exposing the plight of these women; no news expose on the difficult life of a pastor’s wife. These women rarely complain. Most have achieved a level of excellence in which they go about their work with seeming effortlessness. So, most people never give their situation a second thought. That’s where I come in. I am married to a pastor’s wife, so I have special insight into what these dear women often must accomplish (pardon my excursions into exaggeration for effect).

Spiritual maturity

First the pastor’s wife must maintain a level of spirituality at least equal with that of the most spiritual person in the congregation. She must be able to quote scripture with little hesitation on almost any subject. She must never have serious doubts about any article of faith cherished by her husband’s congregation. She must actually pray for the dozens of prayer requests she receives monthly. The ability to walk on water is helpful, but not required.

Personal Life

The pastor’s wife should be in reasonably good shape physically and should maintain a modestly attractive appearance. Her home must be neat and well-organized. Her cooking should be on a gourmet level with at least several dishes which are the favorites at church dinners. She must be cheerful about unexpected guests for dinner. She is to be an excellent manager of family finances, a smart shopper and able to hang pictures tastefully. At the same time she is never to draw attention to herself or her abilities. It is a good idea for Proverbs 31:10-31 to be prominently displayed somewhere in her house.

Children

It goes without saying that she needs to raise near-perfect children. From her they should be learning respect, good manners, cleanliness, theology and perhaps even Hebrew and Greek. She should seriously consider homeschooling in order to ensure that her children are trained properly and not exposed to unduly harmful influences. The children should be able to sing or recite poetry to any group on short notice. They must earn excellent grades, never get in trouble, bicker among themselves or show disrespect to neighbors or members of the congregation.

Compassion

The wife of a pastor often listens patiently to concerns and hurts of several people each week, while sharing her own inner life sparingly (if at all). She should be prepared to forego close friendships in the church for long periods. She should smile a lot. It is indispensible that she should know whose jokes to laugh at and whose humor to blush at. She must be willing to put in many hours of volunteer work in ministry only to have other get much of the credit. She has to be able to take constructive criticism with good humor, humility and a large grain of salt. She should never show anger; always be humble; never gossip. She should have the constitution of an ox, the hide of a rhinoceros and the disposition of a dove. She is to be the servant of all, yet find time to put her own life in perfect harmony—and maintain all of this over a lifetime.

Marriage

Most importantly, this woman has to live with a very difficult man—the pastor. He is much in demand and often not home in the evenings or on weekends. She must be able to figure him out when he is unsure of himself and quietly support him when he is criticized or attacked. She must also tolerate him when his head is twice its normal size after a particularly good sermon. When he is tired or away, she is to keep the family together without a trace of bitterness.

Though not as extreme as this exaggerated description, the wife of a man in ministry is, without doubt, one tough job!   I should know—I am married to one of these amazing women. I thank God for my wife, Melinda. When she married me, she also married ministry. She is raising four amazing children, while serving alongside me. She is creative, attractive, intelligent, hard-working and the life of the party wherever she goes. Her singing is the envy of angels. I could not have done what I have been privileged to do without her. She makes me look very good. Thank you my dear.

I am confident that I speak for thousands of other men in ministry when I express my thanks to all these dear women who serve with us. As far as I am concerned, you deserve the award for the hardest job in the world!  If you know a pastor’s wife that needs some encouragement, you might want to think of something thoughtful to do for her.

Michael Bogart