As a pastor’s wife, we are not dismissed from using the gifts that God has given to us. Gifts and abilities that have come from training, life experience, and passions. And the spiritual gift(s) that were given to us individually when we became a believer in Jesus. To be used for the benefit of the Body of Christ in our local church.
Most of us understand how that works. And it should work smoothly and like everyone else carrying out their gifts in the church.
But occasionally, and maybe all too often, we are challenged in using our gift for the benefit of the Body. By expectations of others that may or may not be appropriate. But come upon us anyway.
I recently came upon this challenging opportunity and here are a few take a ways from the experience.
One of my gifts is to organize and administrate. I had set up a small fellowship meal that I had planned and orchestrated many times before. I had a simple menu; time set aside to shop and prepare and a simple plan to serve and clean up. It was all planned out.
A week before the event I was approached by someone who wanted to contribute something extra for the meal. It was a nice idea, and I readily and enthusiastically accepted the offer.
When a few days before the event, I was contacted by the “gifter” with an assumed way the timing was to be carried out so that her part would work best for her. This did not fit into the timing of the event.
But pastors’ wives, being in the eye of scrutiny of how we react to situations, I realized I had to tread carefully in my communication while still carrying out timing that made sense for the event.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. Matthew 5:9 (MESSAGE)
I took a deep breath, remembered that we are called to be peacemakers and remembered some wise advice I had received as a manager in a large retail company regarding effective customer service. While we had a set of guidelines we used, we also had freedom to make decisions based on the issue in front of us.
The advice I received and carried out when appropriate was this: “If you are going to cave, cave quickly, don’t make them holler, get mad or beg.” In other words, work within your boundaries, but be a peacemaker not an antagonist.
So, I considered her request, made a slight adjustment that I could live with and told her what I could do, not what I couldn’t do. She quickly agreed that the adjustment would work, and we both moved forward with our individual parts.
How many times do we come upon the opportunity to be a peacemaker, but don’t consider how we might carry it out? It is easy to dig our heels in and not budge, with an attitude that does not promote peace. Sometimes events or timing cannot be changed but it’s all in how we communicate our desire to be the peacemaker.
Right after this opportunity, I had another one. This time I could not budge, but I remembered I could still be a peacemaker in my attitude and words. Guess what? It worked.
Again, Matthew 5:9 was a great reminder:
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.