When we count our blessings and thank God for His blessings we should have our spouse high – very high on our list! No one in the Indiana District would question the fact that President May is extremely blessed to have Judy as his wife! I know and I agree!
It is not good for man to be alone and it is not easy for a lot of men to be alone. Like Adam we are fortunate to have a partner in our life that God has given for us to love and to love us back. When they share the joy of serving the Lord with us it is really something special.
There are stories of church workers that are challenged in their ministry because their spouse simply does not share the same commitment to the Church and mission of Christ as you! When you headed into ministry they were shocked at how much time and energy it really takes. They may even come to resent the “Bride of Christ” taking too much of your heart. It’s not that they don’t love the church and share the faith you preach and teach, but church worker spouses and families may feel their needs are not being met. That’s real and that’s hard to resolve.
And then there is the scenario of a church worker who says, “Family First” (Which is a good thing to say) and then takes that to mean that some responsibilities at the school and Church will simply need to go unmet.
Both of these approaches bruise important relationships! Neither approach leads to a balanced and joyful life. There was a Christmas Eve when one of my members had a heart attack between services – which was the exact time our family had used to share Christmas gifts. I immediately needed to go and tend to the member. By God’s grace my beloved Judy explained to the children that I could not be present as we had planned and that we would open gifts the next day after church. She also strongly affirmed the calling I have as a pastor and that we are all “in this together”. She did that all the time and that was and remains a priceless blessing to me and my ministry!
It is great when it works this way, but it doesn’t’ always work that way. The needs of spouse and family can vary greatly from church worker home to church worker home. However, whatever your situation I encourage you to explain to your family what your ministry is about, discuss how it works or doesn’t work in your family and pray for understanding, patience and endurance!. Discuss it with congregational leaders so that everyone is on the same page. If there is an inordinately high need in the family or in the congregation a resolution needs to be reached. In some cases it could mean that something has “to give”. It could mean adding to the staff at church, massaging the schedule to be both reasonable and effective or in some cases seeking a different place for ministry where the needs/expectations are different! We simply cannot sacrifice one for the other!
The ministry is a journey which we travel together! It has great joys and great challenges, but it requires the understanding and energy to balance life. Thank God for your wonderful spouse and thank you Judy for our journey together in Christ!!