The Minister's Wife in Church and Home

No higher privilege can come to any young woman than that of being the wife, com­panion, and fellow laborer of one ordained of God to herald this last message of warning to a perishing world.

By Mrs. W.E. Barr

No higher privilege can come to any young woman than that of being the wife, com­panion, and fellow laborer of one ordained of God to herald this last message of warning to a perishing world. Happy that young woman who appreciates her privileges and responsi­bilities, approaching her sacred calling with a determination to do well her part.

In all history, both sacred and secular, women have played an important part in the work of the world, and the final great crisis will prove no exception. The empress 'Jo­sephine filled a unique position in the royal court of the French nation. She is said to have helped her famous husband, Napoleon, plan his battles, and by some authorities, his success on the battlefields was attributed to her wise counsel. Be that as it may, it is an undisputed fact that Josephine was empress, not alone of the French nation, but also of every nation her illustrious husband conquered. There seemed to be one controlling passion of her life, and it was expressed in her own words, "I will that all around me be happy,"

Not only was Mrs. Ellen G. White a mes­senger of God, but she was called of Heaven to be the wife and companion of the outstand­ing pioneer minister of this movement. There was no shrinking from hardship, no shirking of duty on the part of this brave woman, and no murmuring, no complaining. The wives of our ministers today could read the book, "Life Sketches of Ellen G. White," with great profit. Comparing our task with hers, we would feel that our lot has been cast in pleasant places.

Many a young man called to the sacred and holy office of ministry has had a noble career checked or entirely ruined by having for his life's companion a young woman who has not lighted her taper at the holy altar. Her life is self-centered. She has no vision of the work of God, and the minister finds it nearly an insuperable task to carry the burden of the church, together with that of a divided home where the love of the world, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life rule.

There is no greater need in the world than that of consecrated women, who will be glo­rified examples of the Christian standards presented by the faithful workers in the cause of God. The wife has two spheres, the church and the home. She is a satellite that must shine in her spiritual kingdom with light bor­rowed from her husband. But if the predomi­nant passion of her life is like that of the empress Josephine, "I will that all around me be happy," she will have taken one great stride toward filling her proper place in the household of God.

Perhaps the first responsibility of a min­ister's wife is to become acquainted with all the church members, studiously ignoring fac­tions. Should such exist, both sides will need her friendly help and counsel. She should ac­quaint herself with the activities of the church, be faithful in attendance at Sabbath school and prayer meeting, manifesting an interest in them, and if possible, assisting in any work or project when asked to do so. Above all things, she should watch for the strangers within the church gates, and give them a friendly handclasp and a cordial invitation to visit the church again.

The following poem, "The Gospel of Shaking Hands," is one well worth memorizing by the pastor as well as his wife:

"It is fine to be fluent, with words at command,

But oft there's more gospel in a shake of the hand.

Though you may be no prophet or son of a bard,

You can preach a whole sermon—if you

Shake hands hard.

"Be kindly and cordial, warmhearted and true,

A soul that is lonely is turning to you.

Would you win him for Jesus?

Then show your regard,

And shake hands, my brother, just

Shake hands hard."

Woman's greatest and grandest sphere is the home. There she is supreme mistress, and there is she to demonstrate the divine prin­ciples of this message.

In matters pertaining to diet, the church members rightly look to the pastor and his wife for instruction and example. "The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts." Mal. 2:7. Over seventy years ago the light on health reform was given to this people "to lessen suffering in the world, and to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord." In one city where we were laboring a few years ago, one member of the church would frequently call, very unexpectedly, at the hour when a meal was being served. Finally she confessed she was coming for the express purpose of seeing if I was serving meals in harmony with the instruction my husband was giving the church.

Simplicity should mark the furnishings of the home, as well as the attire of the members of the household. And who can so admirably represent the glorious truths of Christian attire as the wife of the faithful servant of the Lord? These are days when we see a great departure from the simple standard of dress given us as a people. This solemn warning was sent many years ago to our sisters, and I am sure it has lost none of its force today: "Do not, my sis­ters, trifle longer with your own souls and with God. I have been shown the main cause of your backsliding is your love of dress."—"Coun­sels on Health," p. 603. And again: "Many a soul who was convinced of the truth has been led to decide against it by the pride and love of the world displayed by our sisters."—Id., pp. 599, 600. My dear companions in labor, God bids us wear the richest dress upon the soul, —the adorning of a meek and quiet spirit.

The challenge is ours, and just how shall we meet it? In a far greater degree than most of us realize, our influence tends to mold the sentiments and set the standards of the church. In the quiet hour of meditation and prayer, ask yourself the same questions that the poet, Strickland Gillilan, asked himself:

When to the last great reckoning the lives I meet must go,

Shall this wee, fleeting life of mine have added joy or woe?

Shall He who looks their records o'er—of name and time and place—

Say, 'Here a blessed influence came,' or, 'Here is evil's trace'?"

Shall we not, as wives of the heralds of this closing message, dedicate our lives and serv­ices anew to God, and with all sincerity pray this prayer? "Send me anywhere, only go with me; lay any burden upon me, only sustain me; sever every tie, save the tie that binds me to Thy service and to Thy heart."

Washington, D. C.


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By Mrs. W.E. Barr

July 1935

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