SHEPHERDESS

Two articles written for ministers' wives

The Minister's Helpmate

MRS. J. A. DEWALD: Minister's Wife, Georgia-Cumberland Conference

I think the first duty of a minister's wife is much like that of any good wife and mother to care for her family and mold the minds and fashion the characters of her children. As I look around and see all the nice- looking couples with their precious babies, I think we shall be doing a good work and one that is pleasing to the Lord if we can rear these children in the fear of the Lord and make them good, conscientious workers in the cause of God.

One of the greatest hazards to a minister is having children that very definitely show neglect while the mother is trying to help others.

"Let the minister's wife who has children remember that in her home she has a missionary field in which she should labor with untiring energy and unflagging zeal, knowing that the results of her work will endure throughout eternity. Are not the souls of her children of as much value as the souls of the heathen? then let her tend them with loving care. She is charged with the responsibility of showing to the world the power and excellence of home religion. She is to be controlled by principle, not by impulse, and she is to work with the consciousness that God is her helper. She is to allow nothing to divert her from her mission." Gospel Workers, p. 206.

A Soul Winner

On the other hand, a responsibility rests on the minister's wife that she should not and cannot lightly throw off. She should work earnestly, faithfully, and unitedly with her husband to save souls. There are many things she can do to encourage her husband and lighten his bur dens and still not neglect the children.

A minister is given a charge at ordination, and the foregoing statement gives the minister's wife a charge. She is charged with the responsibility of showing to the world the power and excellence of home religion. If she is claiming God as her helper, she will have to lead a de voted, prayerful life, studying the Word and receiving daily help through prayer. In this way she will realize the power in the religion the Lord has commissioned her to show to the world, and that far excels anything this world has to offer. The minister's wife also has to have faith, not only faith in God and His promises, but faith that the Lord is leading in this movement, and confidence in the leaders and their decisions.

Love That Takes in the World

I think the minister's wife should have genuine love in her heart for all. She should not be partial to a few in the church.

"From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy." Messages to Young People, p. 325.

This kind of love takes in the whole world, and has plenty left for her own family. It will manifest an unselfish spirit and do away with damaging gossip and destructive criticism that is so harmful to her husband's work. She can attain this standard only by keeping the love of God in her heart and dwelling on the great love He has shown to her. This will give her a friendly, cheerful, and optimistic spirit. Many times when burdens are heavy and pressing on her husband, just a few words of encouragement can lighten the burden and help a great deal in carrying him on to victory.

A minister's wife, if she is truly interested in her husband's commission, cannot help being enthusiastic. Is there any greater thrill than to hold studies with a man or woman, or, better yet, a complete family, and watch the Spirit of the Lord work in their lives, and then ultimately see them baptized and enjoying the new life?

I think the minister's wife should be a firm believer in the Spirit of prophecy, and should study it regularly. The messenger of the Lord has given us many good things that will help us immeasurably in being examples in the Christian life. For instance, the health program. This is given us as a special gift, and if rightly observed, will make us physically fit to do a better work for the Lord now, and prepare us for the troublous times that are coming on the earth. Along this line we are told also to manage our household with economy and discretion. This lesson is important to be taught our children. We are going to be held responsible not only for our tithe, which belongs to the Lord, but for all the money that goes through our hands.

Minister's Home a Haven for Youth

I have always felt a special burden for the young people in the church. Instead of joining in on damaging criticism that may discourage them and, in many cases, cause them to lose interest and eventually leave the church entirely, let us try to lead them into right channels, showing them that doing the right thing is much more enjoyable and exciting than indulging in borderline practices. The things of the world, many times, look very enticing; but if we can help them see that the things of God are much more thrilling and leave them with a much better feeling afterward, I think we are accomplishing something for God. I have always considered it a privilege to be included  in their plans, and f want them to know that my home is always open, if they want to bring their friends for Bible study, recreation, et cetera.

I think a good minister's wife should have made up her mind before she became a minister's wife that she would adjust herself to any surroundings and make her influence felt wherever she is.

Another point in favor of a good minister's wife is neatness. With people coming at any time of the day or night, it is a good idea for her to try to arrange a system whereby she can get her work done so that the home has a good appearance. On the other hand, she could be scrubbing and cleaning all the time, and that is not necessary either. Many times a minister's wife feels that if she is helping her husband, he should spend a great deal of his time doing her work. I think it is fine for him to help for a few minutes occasionally if she gets in a tight place, but as a regular thing, his time is much too valuable to be used in this way.

Speaking of a minister's wife's helping her husband, I think she can help him by taking a special interest in the ones with whom he is studying. Many times, especially with the women, she can draw very close to them and help them immeasurably in their Christian walk. I think it is a good thing for her to go with her husband whenever possible in his visitations. In some cases, with her knowledge of health, she can administer simple health measures that will help physically as well as spiritually.

"The wife of a minister can do much if she will. If she possesses the spirit of self-sacrifice, and has a love for souls, she can with him do almost an equal amount of good. A sister-laborer in the cause of truth can understand and reach some cases, especially among the sisters, that the minister cannot." Gospel Workers, p. 201.

I think a minister's wife should ever be on the alert to find little mistakes and, in a spirit of love, tell these to her husband in the seclusion of their own home, with no one else to listen.

Let us endeavor, dear sisters, to lead exemplary lives, and have the zeal and enthusiasm to do our best for our Master, depending on Him to give us added strength and new opportunities to witness for Him, knowing that the reward is rich on this earth and unbelievably wonderful in the world to come.

Devoted, Prayerful Lives

"The wives of ministers should live devoted, prayerful lives. But some would enjoy a religion in which there are no crosses and which calls for no self-denial and exertion on their part. Instead of standing nobly for themselves, leaning upon God for strength and bearing their individual responsibility, they have much of the time been dependent upon others, deriving their spiritual life from them. If they would only lean confidingly, in childlike trust, upon God, and have their affections centered in Jesus, deriving their life from Christ, the living Vine, what an amount of good they might do, what a help they might be to others, what a support to their husbands, and what a reward would be theirs in the end! 'Well done, good and faithful servants,' would fall like sweetest music upon their ears. The words, 'Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,' would repay them a thousand times for all the suffering and trials endured to save precious souls." Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 452, 458.

When we think of the early pioneers of this message and the sacrifices they made and the wonderful vision they had, should our vision and sacrifice be any less, living down on the brink of the second coming of Christ? Behind almost every one of those good, faithful saints was a wife who encouraged him, suffered with him, and was willing to sacrifice the same as he did, and I fully believe that in the judgment she will receive the same reward as her husband.

The Home of the Rural Pastor

one third of the work day of the average pastor's wife is spent in preparing meals. She spends over seven hours a week washing dishes. If the church trustees had to bend over a sink that is too low for seven hours, they would modernize the parsonage kitchen before the week was over.

The pastor's wife helps her husband in the work of the church. She often goes with him making pastoral calls. She must be and usually is an ideal mother. She does her share of work in the community and often more than her share of church work. She deserves the most convenient kitchen it is possible to provide.

In many parishes the people are more interested in the parsonage than in any other house other than their own.

Seventy-eight per cent of the parsonages have an electric or gas range. In six parsonages out of seven there is an automatic refrigerator. Home freezing units are rapidly increasing. Two thirds of the parsonage kitchens have adequate storage space.

The recent survey of 1,171 parsonages in 47 States is entitled "The Home of the Rural Pastor" and is distributed at cost (40 cents) by the Rural Department, Drew Seminary, Madison, New Jersey.

Only 6 of the 1,171 wives complained of their parsonage. As one woman said after dis cussing many labor-saving devices, "Some we have, and some we would like to have; not as luxuries though, but to increase the efficiency of our work."

 

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