In her third book, Gloria Furman promises “to drill down to the things that matter,” and her busy readers will find that she does, indeed, honor her word. The Pastor’s Wife was written in the small spaces between mothering four children and serving alongside her church-planting husband on the Arabian peninsula, so it is more than simply a job description or an “I feel your pain” encouragement card. Gloria has written a mission statement wrapped around a practical theology lesson for ministry wives. Her “drilling down” bypasses the stereotypes, the diatribes about roles, expectations, and needs, focusing instead on the truth that “we’re all in this over-arching circumstance of needing and receiving grace from Jesus.”
Gloria helps us to see that the focus and privilege of the pastor’s wife is three-fold:
1. Loving the Chief Shepherd: If God is my first love, I will not be trapped into making an idol of ministry, the opinions of others, my children, or any other circumstance or opportunity. Living in the awareness that I exist to please God, I see all things in relation to Him, and am able to happily receive my position as a sheep, serving fellow-sheep in the flock of God.
2. Loving an Under Shepherd: Since the duties of an elder are clearly spelled out in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1, ministry wives (and all wives!) have a starting point, because Scripture also designates our role to be “helper” to our husband. Gloria shares personal experiences and encouragement specifically related to these biblical qualifications, and then offers Psalm 121 for any whose hackles rise with the question, “Who’s going to help me?”
“My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
Therefore, with God as her helper, the pastor’s wife can confidently serve her husband and family without feeling that this is “nominal and diminishing when compared to other opportunities she has to serve in and through the church.” Relationships with other women (modeled on Titus 2) are also a rich resource for growing in the grace that is needed for serving alongside a servant in equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
3. Loving the Bride of Christ: The “robust ecclesiology” that undergirds part three of The Pastor’s Wife is an important foundation for anyone who believingly follows Jesus Christ. Seen through the grid of New Testament truth, the church is “the spiritual temple in which [God] chooses to dwell.” Acting with this knowledge base will elevate the life of the local church above the sometimes deadening routine of nursery schedules, potluck dinners, and business meetings devoted to “what-color-should-we-paint-the-ladies’- bathroom?” As the most visible part of our theology, a Christ-centered church is a platform for displaying the grace of God through the gifts He bestows.
Whether reading from the unique perspective of a ministry wife, or simply from the position of a woman who wants to understand and support her pastor’s wife, there is rich truth in these page. When Gloria wrote Glimpses of Grace, my youngest son was eleven, so I read the book in order to recommend it to the young women in my Sunday School class. We are at very different phase of life, but what I have found is that the Scriptural truth behind her words is transcendent, and I always come away with concepts that I can’t wait to apply. For example, in Section 2, Ephesians 1:17-19 is trumpeted as the basis for seeking God’s help in a marriage that demonstrates God’s design: “We need the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God to enlighten the eyes of our hearts . . .” The power by which we live is “according to the work of God’s great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead,” (v. 20); and we are privileged to serve Christ, who is “seated at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion . . . not only in this age but also in the one to come.” This rich gospel orientation strips away all the questions that start with “how,” “what,” and “why,” with a laser focus on Christ, the object of and power behind all true ministry. The Pastor’s Wife reveals service to Christ for what it is — pure grace.
This book was provided by Crossway in exchange for my honest review.
I link up with these communities on a regular basis: Soli Deo Gloria Connections, Inspire Me Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tell His Story, Coffee for Your Heart, Live Free Thursdays, Faith-Filled Fridays, Grace and Truth, Fellowship Friday, Still Saturday, The Weekend Brew, Sunday Stillness, Faith and Fellowship, Blessing Counters, Women with Intention, Sharing His Beauty, Monday Musings, Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday.
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