By Louis J. Sharp
“Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things” (1 Tim. 3:11). A man who does not have the respect of his wife enough to cause her to conduct her-self properly should refuse to allow himself to be appointed as an elder or a deacon. More attention should be given to the qualifications of the wives of men whom we seek to appoint. Often, this is overlooked.
Occasionally, there are delicate matters these men must deal with and should be kept to themselves. A woman once asked for a meeting with the elders to discuss a very delicate matter. She believed she was talking to men who had her best interest at heart. Soon after the meeting, the entire discussion was known throughout the church because an elder went home and related the whole story to his wife (first mistake). His action indicated his own lack of qualification, and his wife was likewise guilty as she spread the story. “Gossip is an insect without any wings or legs but with many tales and in each of them a stinger.”
Wives of elders and deacons should not make the decisions for their husbands in matters pertaining to the church. Any man who must go home and talk with his wife before he can make up his mind is not qualified to occupy that important position. This does not rule out discussing certain questions with one’s wife, but does say the man himself is the decision maker. God did not command that the wives of elders should take the oversight of the church. For a wife of elders and deacons to be “faithful in all things,” she might ask: “How can I help my husband be a better elder or deacon?” Let us look at some ways these good women may help.
1. “Be sure you are everything a Christian wife should be.” A good ex-ample will assist your husband greatly. Your poor example can destroy the good influence of your husband.
2. “Encourage your husband in his work.” He has grave responsibilities. He can use an encouraging word rather than a hassle, about what he is doing. Many men would be much better elders and deacons if they received more encouragement at home.
3. “Never demand that he tell you anything that you should not know.” Never question him about what was discussed in the meetings he attends. He will feel free to tell those things that are public information, but delicate matters must be treated as such.
4. “Never place a burden upon his heart with unjust criticism.” One who watches over the affairs of the church hears enough criticism with-out having to hear it from his wife.
5. “If you happen to learn some-thing that is not general knowledge, never repeat it to anyone.” It hurts the influence of your husband when you relate anything that is not general knowledge.
6. “Do not try to run the life of your husband by making his decisions for him.” Such women are never happy with themselves or their husbands.
7. “Do not complain about the time it takes for him to do the work of an elder or deacon.” Keep in mind he is doing an important work!
8. “Help him to grow in his work to be stronger in his service.” Talk to God about him and the great work he is doing. Let him know you are proud of him, and the great trust that has been placed in him by the congregation that he serves.
We may have been a little blunt in some statements, but our only concern is that God’s great women help God’s great men.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 17, p. 1
September 1, 1994