It’s well-known that pastors’ wives have challenges that are unique to them. I can tell you that those challenges begin while their husbands are yet in seminary, and that they can come at sundry times and in divers manners. For example, Arenda was lost the other night in the Civil War-era south of Gone With the Wind, when I slid with gale force into the living room, excited to have finished my sermon.
“Hey Arenda, do you mind if I preach my sermon to you?”
I watched as she took a flying mental leap from 1865, landed in a pile of plaid somewhere in the mid-90’s, and crawled with effort into 2014, all in a few seconds. So there was some discontent there.
“Preach? I don’t mind if you read it to me.”
Tactlessly: “Yes, preach.”
Really, I needed to practice as though there was a congregation in front of me. When I saw that she wasn’t going to flat-out refuse, I set up a kitchen chair on top of the old trunk that serves as our living room table and from that makeshift pulpit went ahead with my patronizing harangue, as John Stott once put it.
I thought it was good, that it really ended on a high note.
“The first two points were great,” she said when I finished, “but it faded somewhat toward the end.”
If I ever do end up on a real pulpit one day with some half-decent sermons, it will be because my wonderful wife has scrubbed me free of self-delusion.
And I do mean wonderful. I robbed her of a good half-hour of reading just so she could listen to me bumble, waddle, and stammer my way through Jeremiah 23:1-8 and give me a critique she knew I might not want to hear. I know she doesn’t really mind, though, and I’m mighty thankful for it.