Tip #3: Know When to Take on New Roles

download (1)Last month’s tip was all about the importance of moving slowly as we settle into our new church. As pastors’ wives, we want to take the time to build relationships, learn the church, and join the ladies in what they’re already doing, but we don’t want to go so slow we stagnate. We want to embrace our role as pastors’ wives and help lead the women of the church in the proper areas at the proper times. But how will we know when the right times and roles come along?

Here are some questions to ask ourselves as we try to decide about taking on new church responsibilities:

  • Does my current season of life allow for this job? If I’m a mom with babies/toddlers/preschoolers, it’s probably not the right time to take on church responsibilities beyond caring for my children so my husband can pastor the people. For instance, if my becoming a greeter means that my husband has to pick up our children from Sunday School and get them to the sanctuary for Worship, I probably shouldn’t take the job.
  • Do I know and love the people of the church? And do they know and love me? If I haven’t built solid relationships first, it’s probably not the time to take on the job of Women’s Ministry Leader. Instead, I could volunteer to serve meals alongside the other ladies at the local homeless shelter. That way, I’m helping while also strengthening my relationships with other ladies.
  • Am I gifted/equipped to fill this role? Am I considering a job just because nobody else will do it? Or am I gifted for the job but don’t have the equipment or time to do it properly? If I’m tone-deaf, I probably shouldn’t volunteer to lead music. However, if I’d make a wonderful Women’s Bible Study teacher but don’t have time to prepare my own studies, I should think about whether I could do the job if the church purchased ready-made lessons for me to lead. On the other hand, if I’m a computer nerd with a laptop, internet access, and sufficient time, maybe I should consider tackling the job of Website Coordinator.
  • What does my husband think? It’s always wise to consult with my husband before taking on any new responsibilities, especially in the church. After all, as the head of our home and the shepherd of our church, he’s in the best position to help me determine which roles I should pursue. He may also want to ask the elders and/or deacons what they think of me taking on a particular job.

If, after prayerful consideration, I decide to take on a new responsibility, I should embrace my role with diligence, punctuality, and joy as service to the King of kings.

Becoming a Better Steward of My Church

stewardshipDo you ever wonder how you can be a better steward of the gift of your local church? I sure do. Here are some biblical principals I discovered about how God wants us to treat His church:

1.  Give cheerfully and proportionately to the church where I’m a member. If I can’t give ten percent with a glad heart, I am to figure out what I can give with joy and do so faithfully. If I can give more than ten percent cheerfully, then I should do it.

2.  Use my gifts. God gave me at least one talent to use for His church. I should never make others do what they weren’t gifted to do because I refuse to work.

3.  Recognize the consequences of a grumbling spirit. God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt and all they did was grumble. The result? They died after wasting their lives wandering in the wilderness when they could’ve lived in the Promised Land. I don’t want to be like them, so caught up in my complaints that I lose out on God’s blessings.

4.  Show up. Attending Worship, Bible Study, and other activities at my church is a huge way of showing how much value I place on my church. And on God Himself.

5.  Cherish the gift of my leaders. Grieving the ones who work so hard for the good of God’s church is sheer foolishness. When I drain my pastors, elders, and deacons of their joy in service, I squander my church’s best resources. I don’t want to be like the generation in the wilderness that exasperated their leader, Moses, to the point that he, too, sinned and lost out on the Promised Land.

6.  Speak positively. When my church leaders come up with biblical plans for our church, I am to make negative words anathema to me. Even if I disagree, I should simply say, “It’s wonderful that our leaders want to lead us in the pursuit of godliness and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Wisdom Versus Foolishness

How much do you know about what God calls wisdom and what He considers foolishness? Test your knowledge with this quiz. Give yourself 2 points for every answer you get right without looking up the scripture reference. Give yourself 1 point for every answer you get right with help from the scripture reference (taken from NIV).  c4c015

  1. What is the beginning of wisdom? (Proverbs 9:10)
    1. Walking in righteousness
    2. The fear of the LORD
    3. Listening to your parents
    4. The counsel of friends
  2. A beautiful woman who behaves foolishly is like what? (Proverbs 11:22)
    1. A gold ring in a pig’s snout
    2. A dog eating the children’s food
    3. A house on fire
    4. A cup of cold water on a hot day
  3. Where does wisdom call? (Proverbs 1:20-21)
    1. In the public square
    2. On top of the wall
    3. At the city gate
    4. All of the above
  4. Which man (whose name means fool) did David almost slaughter for his foolish insolence? (1 Samuel 25:25)
    1. Jacob
    2. Horace
    3. Nabal
    4. Japheth
  5. What does the fool say in his heart? (Psalm 14:1)
    1. “I know everything.”
    2. “There is no God.”
    3. “There’s no such thing as fairies.”
    4. “Sin is good.”
  6. In what does a fool find pleasure? (Proverbs 10:23)
    1. Food and drink
    2. Hanging out with other fools
    3. Money
    4. Wicked schemes
  7. How many pillars are on wisdom’s house? (Proverbs 9:1)
    1. Hundreds
    2. Seven
    3. Twelve
    4. Thirty-three
  8. On what did the foolish man build his house? (Matthew 7:24-27)
    1. Rock
    2. Gravel
    3. Sand
    4. Water
  9. What is the Chaldean name of Daniel’s friend Azariah, a young man whom God granted wisdom and later saved from a fiery furnace? (Daniel 1:7)
    1. Shadrach
    2. Abednego
    3. Meshach
    4. Belteshazzar
  10. Wisdom makes one person more powerful than how many rulers in a city? (Ecclesiastes 7:19)
    1. Ten
    2. Two
    3. A thousand
    4. None of the above
  11. The way of the fool seems right to him, but a wise person does what? (Proverbs 12:15)
    1. Always chooses the right way
    2. Listens to advice
    3. Reads the Bible every day
    4. Tells the fool the right way to go
  12. A wise person brings calm, while a foolish person does what? (Proverbs 29:11)
    1. Brings about chaos
    2. Gives many gifts
    3. Gives full vent to rage
    4. Takes people to court
  13. Who is the wise wife of the man in question #4 who prevented David from killing her foolish husband? (1 Samuel 25)
    1. Abigail
    2. Mary
    3. Bathsheba
    4. Sarah
  14. Wisdom is more precious than what? (Proverbs 3:14-15)
    1. Rubies
    2. Silver
    3. Gold
    4. All of the above
  15. What happens to a companion of fools? (Proverbs 13:20)
    1. He suffers harm
    2. He becomes wise
    3. He dies a painful death
    4. None of the above
  16. How can you get wisdom? (James 1:5)
    1. Ask your mother
    2. Talk to your youth pastor
    3. Listen to your friends
    4. Ask God

Answers to Wisdom Versus Foolishness quiz:

  1. 2
  2. 1
  3. 4
  4. 3
  5. 2
  6. 4
  7. 2
  8. 3
  9. 2
  10. 1
  11. 2
  12. 3
  13. 1
  14. 4
  15. 1
  16. 4

22-32 points:  Well done! You know a lot about God’s views on wisdom and foolishness, but don’t stop learning. “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” (Proverbs 9:9)

11-21 points:  You’re on your way to wisdom. Keep up the pursuit! “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7b)

10 and under:  Not so great, huh? Don’t worry, though, you can still follow the path of understanding. Wisdom calls out: “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 8:34-35) prov-002-06

Becoming a Peacemaker

peace_smiley_round_car_magnetMost of us are well aware that flashing the peace sign around isn’t enough to rid our world of conflict. Even in Christian families, bickering and sometimes knock-down, drag-out fights occur. Look at Jacob and Joseph, two patriarchs of the Old Testament. Their families had some serious issues. Esau sold Jacob his birthright for a bowl of stew. Their parents, Isaac and Rebekah, pitted them against each in some twisted “favorites” game. Rebekah and Jacob even tricked blind, pathetic Isaac into giving the wrong kid his blessing. Their family lied to each other, cheated each other, hated each other, plotted murder against each other. Not a pretty picture.

And then there’s Jacob’s son Joseph, a kid Jacob and his wife Rachel spoiled rotten. (Clearly, Jacob didn’t learn from his own childhood that it’s not a good idea to play the “favorites” game.) In fact, Joseph turned into such a whiny, self-important, tattling brat that his brothers sold him into slavery. Talk about a dysfunctional family.

You may be thinking, “My family’s perfect compared with these guys. I’d never sell my bratty little brother into slavery. Well…not most days anyway.” But I’m sure if you think for half a second, you can pinpoint conflicts at home, probably from this very morning. Maybe some eye rolling when Mom reminded you for the fifth time to feed the dog. Maybe your sister slugged your brother for yelling at her about how long she took in the bathroom. Maybe you asked Dad if you could go to your friend’s house after church when Mom already told you “no” because you haven’t finished your homework.

I hope your family conflict isn’t to the point of murder or selling people into slavery, but I can guarantee the sin patterns are still there. Sin patterns that displease God and that make your home life much less joyful than it could be. Sin patterns that, by God’s grace and mercy, you can help break.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right. How am I supposed to stop my family from fighting all the time? I’m a teenager!” You may not be able to stop the fighting altogether, but you can sure make things a whole lot better. Here’s how you can become a peacemaker in your home:

Think Peace: Recognize the sin in your own heart. Think through the ways you cause or perpetuate conflicts with your family…and repent. Yes, repenting means you should tell God and your family that you’re sorry for how you’ve acted in the past, but it goes beyond that. It means turning away from those sins. It means deciding that having peace in your home is more important than getting your own way all the time. It means that from here on out, you will not get mad so quickly. It means you will choose not to provoke fights. It means you will choose not to hold grudges against your family for past wrongs.

It’s not easy to change sinful habits. It’s much easier to backtalk your dad or slap your sister than to resist sin and obey God. But if you’ll ask Him, God will help you. Memorizing Scripture will help, too. Try running these verses through your mind when temptation strikes:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23).

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

“Pursue peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14). Oh, and don’t forget that “all men” includes your annoying little brother.

Speak Peace: Always speak the truth, but only do so in love. Sometimes you have to tell on somebody, like when your sister plans to sneak out with the neighborhood drug dealer or your brother stole Grandma’s car. You know what I mean—the big-time stuff, the dangerous stuff. If your sister leaves the water dripping in the bathroom, that’s probably neither big-time nor dangerous. Just turn the water off; don’t run tattle. Tattling is a quick way to make enemies of your brothers and sisters.

If it’s not helpful, don’t say it. Just because Dad’s chicken casserole tastes like burnt rubber bands doesn’t mean you need to tell him that. He has taste buds. He knows it’s awful. You’ll only make him feel worse by complaining. At least he cared enough to cook, right?

Never pit your parents against each other. Going to the “soft” parent when the other parent already said “no,” is a sure way to introduce conflict between your parents. And conflict between your parents is never good for you, even if you get what you want in that instance.

Use your words to heal, not hurt. Choose to say things that promote peace. Replace “But I didn’t make the mess” with “I’ll clean it up.” Instead of “You’re such an idiot,” say “I’ll help you figure it out.” Substitute “I love you” for “I hate you.”

Do Peace: Don’t ever allow yourself to be physically violent toward anyone in your family. Pounding your little brother, yanking your older sister’s hair, shoving your mother…all are sinful actions. Don’t let yourself be a person of violence, no matter what the world says.

When conflict begins and rage fills you, walk away. Go outside and run until you’re exhausted. Punch your pillow. Bite your tongue. Whatever it takes to keep conflict from escalating to violence. It’s much harder to recover peace once violence begins. Think of Joseph’s brothers. Throwing Joseph into a pit and selling him into slavery led them to years and years of guilt and sorrow. If we let it, rage will make us do more damage than we can ever undo.

Instead, do what you can to promote peace. Obey your parents. Do your homework and your chores. Keep your promises. Look for ways to help out. Seek common ground with your family. Enjoy activities together.download (1)

Basically, live the Golden Rule. Treat your family the way you want to be treated, and you won’t need to wear a peace symbol on your T-shirt. Everyone will already know you as a peacemaker.