Serving in the church should make me happy.
Reality: God has not assigned you a “happiness machine.”
Too many pastor’s wives are overly concerned about what ministry can do for them. They look to the church to fulfill this need in their life. The issue should be: what can I do for the ministry. God never intended for the church to become your satisfaction machine. Genuine satisfaction comes from selfless service to others.
Many pastors and their wives expect heavenly working conditions, congenial church members, no conflicts, a committed congregation, and God’s blessings all rolled into one.
These things are just not going to happen, in any church anywhere in the world. In fact, if you get one of those things, you should count yourself fortunate. We need to remember that we are serving the King of Kings, and we are His unworthy servants. Our satisfaction comes from serving Him, period. If you look for it anywhere else, you will be disappointed.
Everything is worse in society now than ever before. Why is ministry so hard these days?
Reality: Bad times provide great opportunities for the gospel.
Every generation thinks their world is worse than earlier generations experienced. But just because the world seems bent on destroying itself does not mean that we should give up. It just gives us more opportunity for us to be salt and light. The worst times are often when God gives revival and blessing through His faithful remnant. God will often use a sinful society for His own purposes, so this could be our golden hour. We need to take advantage of the opportunities around us.
Whether these are the best or the worst of times, these are the only times we have for serving God. None of us has the choice to serve in the last century or in the next generation. Wishing it were easier does not make it so, nor do we defeat the enemy by retreating from the front lines. In all of human history, no one has ever faced our unique challenges. Before we were born or knew anything about today’s difficulties, God had plans for people like us to take the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. We just need to overlook the obstacles and get busy serving Him.
Ministry cheats a pastor’s family.
Our children don’t have the opportunities other families have.
Reality: Ministry can enrich your family.
This widely discussed myth suggests that pastors’ children are cheated or disadvantaged because of a life in the ministry. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are definitely unique challenges that come with the ministry and trying to raise a family. But there are also many distinct advantages. These are what you need to focus on.
Never tell your children that they are underprivileged because their father is in the ministry. Never point out the things that they can’t have or they have to give up because their father is in the ministry. Let your children know that it is a privilege to serve the Lord. In fact, it is the highest calling that a Christian can have. If you focus on the benefits and privileges you have, it will help your children to appreciate them too.
People are always criticizing us.
Reality: Criticism can be helpful if viewed in a right way.
Criticism often causes frustration and anger, but it will not destroy you unless you let it. Look inside at your attitude, and look outside to see if their talk contains even a small degree of truth. If the answer is yes, correct yourself. If no, pass it off as being the work of a busybody. It is usually senseless to try to run down a rumor because it is so elusive. Living your life in a way that pleases Christ silences most reasonable critics, and the others won’t be satisfied no matter what you do.
Use these six questions to make criticism useful in your life:
* Consider a critic’s intention—is it to help or harm?
* Does the criticism contain an element of truth?
* Will careful consideration of the criticism draw you closer to God or closer to your husband?
* Can you use this criticism to clarify your mission, goals, and purposes?
* Can you use this specific criticism to positively impact your perspective about yourself or the way you do things?
* What does the critic need from you?
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Get a friend to tell you your faults, or better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and sting you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise person! What an intolerable nuisance to a fool!” How do you handle criticism in your life? Do you consider it a blessing or a nuisance?
Beverly is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Doug Hammett have been married for over 35 years. Since her father was a pastor and her husband was already a pastor when she married him, she is well acquainted with the blessings as well as the problems of the ministry! Bev’s favorite things to do are read and spend time with her family.
In Autumn of 2010, Doug stepped aside from his position as senior pastor at LVBC to reach and train men in Botswana and South Africa. Beverly continues to write for our ladies publication, giving her unique perspective of life in the ministry, and now life on the mission field. You can read more about their ministry here.