February 1, 2011

Staying with the Supplies

This past weekend, Kyle and I enjoyed a quick jaunt to Texas for a wedding he officiated. We sat outside in the 70 degree weather as much as possible before returning to cold, overcast Charlottesville. Despite the weather, we're glad to be back with the people God has given us to love and be loved by.

My thoughts lately have been on ministry, especially after a heart-to-heart with a dear friend at the wedding. As we talked about how our husbands' jobs affect us and how we desire to be effective and helpful as ministers' wives, I remembered a letter that I received a few years ago that I had tucked away for when I needed encouragement in ministry. It's from the leader of a fantastic organization that trains and sends college students all across the globe. My husband, after leaving me and our small children for a week, had just returned from leading a training time for their ministry leaders. Here's what he said:

P (his wife) and I want to tell you a story and in so doing express our deep gratitude for the role you have played in God's using men and women to help fulfill His purposes. We do not take your sacrifice lightly or for granted.

P is not an adventurous soul and because we still had children at home when we started (the organization) she was unable to travel with me. It was a difficult time for us but God's hand and shared calling on us was clear. There were going to be times that I would have to be away from home. P so wanted to be part of what God was doing and really didn't understand how she might do that until she read a story about King David and his army in 1 Samuel 30:3-4, 17-24. David and his army of 600 were returning home from war. They were exhausted and discouraged.

"When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters had been taken captive....

Then David came to the 200 men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Ravine. They came out to meet David and the people with him. As David and his men approached, he greeted them. But all the evil men and troublemakers among David's followers said, 'Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered.'"

David's response to these evil men has been a tremendous encouragement to P through the years when she has been unable to travel with me.

"David replied, 'No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.'"

P and I want to express our deep gratitude to you for your role in what God did in the lives of students this week. Your willingness to stay home (stay with the supplies) helped to make the week a great success. Young men and women walk more closely with God because of the sacrifice you made. You share in that equally with all of us.

Ministers' wives, I hope those words are as much of an encouragement to you today as they have been to me.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor 15:58