An Elder's Wife
Vital to the smooth operation of any local establishment of the Lord's church is a devoted person who has no title, holds no office, and has no authority save that of an ordinary Christian. Yet this person holds the power to disrupt or to expedite the most carefully laid plans and the most important works of the church. This quiet but influential person is an elder's wife.
Elder's wives come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. She can usually be found long after the services are over, sitting in a parked car by herself . . . waiting, or in an empty, unheated auditorium after the crowd has gone . . . waiting. She gets a lot of Bible reading done this way, and she knows where all the songs are in the hymn book.
She knows the loneliness of long evenings at home while her husband is out trying to correct other people's troubles. She is alone because her children are usually old enough to be occupied with their own pursuits, if they have not left home altogether. So she occupies her time with busy work and waits.
An elder's wife must be as staunch as a rock, as busy as a beaver, as quiet as a mouse, as biblically informed as a preacher, as flexible as a rubber band, and as patient as a mother of triplets.
She must know how to change her plans without notice, how to keep a meal hot and tasty for two hours after it was ready to serve, how to hold her temper (and her tongue) when people criticize her husband, and, most of all, how to use time profitably while she waits for her husband to get out of a prolonged conference.
Hers is the frustration of knowing little and being able to tell even less, when people expect her to know all and tell it. She knows the heartache of watching her man wrestling with a problem not of his own making and which he cannot discuss . . . even with her. Hers is the responsibility of setting an example of faithful Christian wifeliness, not because anyone wants or intends to follow it but simply because her husband is an elder. She has the burden of knowing that, of all the positions and offices in the Lord's church, her husband occupies one of the two or three whose qualifications depend on the character and caliber of his wife as well as of himself.
An elder's wife likes a peaceful church, worship services, Bible classes, pot-lucks, children, younger women, going visiting with her husband, opportunities to serve, company, a night when her husband has nowhere to go, getting to go home when church is over, short business meetings, people who don't cause trouble.
An elder's wife worries about what people think of her husband, what people think of her, what people think about her husband because of her, whether her children are faithful as she taught them to be, church members who aren't faithful, whether the roast in the oven at home is going to burn before her husband gets out of that unscheduled meeting which was called for "not more than five minutes" a half-hour ago.
Her life is hard, but she wouldn't have it any other way. She loves the Lord with all her heart and feels the warm glow of satisfaction that comes from knowing that she dedicated not only herself, but even her home, her husband and her family to the service of God and the betterment of His kingdom. She knows that she has a reward in heaven, and she is willing to do more of that which she has already learned to do so well . . . wait.
And even if there were no heavenly crown to look forward to, all the trials of body and spirit become trivial by comparison when a man of God, exhausted from long hours of tending the Master's flock, comes home late at night, takes her in his arms, and says, "I just couldn't make it without you!"
- Submitted by Donald Willis
Guardian of Truth XXX: 7, pp. 193, 196