By Patti Johnson
I shared part one of this blog with you last week and would like to finish the thoughts this week.
Once you know what God requires of us to live the life obedient to His instruction, what does it look like as we attempt to carry it out?
When I need to know how to do something like this, I have a habit of going to someone that has walked life in the shoes I now wear and ask questions. Direct, specific, honest and intentional questions.
I did this several years ago with a seasoned ministry woman, one who had years of marriage and ministry behind her, but was still actively involved in ministry as an older godly woman to younger women. I have learned that when you go to a source like this with an authentic inquiry it is much like the insurance company that has as its tag line, “We know a thing or two because we have seen a thing or two.”
I posed a question to the second verse I shared last week.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 – “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands…”
I wanted to know how to best serve those I served with and those I served. I am by nature, nurture and gifting a helper and have a natural flesh bent towards “fixing”. So, I needed to know how to apply this requirement of minding my own business while still being a help and a catalyst for solutions. I specifically asked the question pertaining to my role as a pastor’s wife, in how I could be a good supportive presence to my husband without overstepping my bounds.
The answer was swift and confident. She said “Become a student of your husband. Know his strengths and weaknesses, his likes and dislikes, things that build him up, things that discourage him, things that feed him and things that drain him. Remember that God has called him to his role, not you. Assist him, encourage him, affirm him but do not try to control him. In other words, mind your own business if it comes to overstepping your role into his. Help when asked, fix when permission is given and pray, always pray for wisdom and favor.”
Just like that I had wisdom in the flesh, an answer to “What does it look like?” Some boundaries and borders and something I could link to God’s instructions to what was required of ME.
Now have I always stayed within those boundaries and borders? At times I have not but I always knew they were there and tried to return to them as quickly as possible when they came to the forefront of my mind. There were times I ignored them and got myself into roles that were not my business, and quite possible messed with God’s plan for that situation.
But I am ever grateful for that wise godly advice from an older woman to a younger woman who asked.
The rest of the instruction is to “work with your hands”. What that looks like for me is to keep busy with what God has given me to do. Sometimes it is awkwardly staying out of the way when I want to help, but it is always concentrating on what is at hand for me to do within my role. And if I can’t keep myself busy with a task, then I am praying for the situation, and allowing God to redirect my thought and my hands to labor.
I asked this question about my role as a pastor’s wife to my husband but this principle applies to all roles of ministry, those you serve with and those you serve.
Define your role, and stay focused on it. Allow God to guide you if you are to assist in another’s role. Be sensitive to calls for help and define together what that help may look like.
God requires us to live with and love one another. Let’s do that within His instructions to us through His Word.
I desire to be that older godly woman that a younger one comes to with questions. My desire is to have a godly wise answer for her.