Dancing along the sidewalks of seminary campuses, balancing on tables at candidacy interviews, and in the dorm rooms of missionary training centres, the proverbial elephant in the room does The Electric Slide waiting to be noticed.
Expectations. What should a pastor’s wife do for the church? What are the agency’s expectations for missionary wives? Is there a job description for the elder’s wife? (Other than the fact that she must be his only wife!)
If any of us knew all of the expectations that others had, we would be paralyzed or do The Moon Walk right out the back door. So let’s hit the pause button on these particulars, and playback one expectation the Bible shows us from Genesis to Revelation that we need to have of ourselves:
We must expect that we are always dependent on God’s grace (and so is everyone else).
The more our failures, weaknesses, triumphs, and gifts can point us to this one great expectation, the better. In pointing us to the cross, all these things become servants for our joy in Christ. When we expect that everyone has an ongoing need to revel in the gospel, we find that we are free to respond to expectations with grace.
One time a woman approached me with this confession: “So many times you have disappointed me and do not work to please me as my pastor’s wife.” Her brutal honesty was startling, and I’m so thankful that she continued to share, “And now I’m beginning to realize that you are not here to please me. All of us exist to please the Lord.”
There are so many different directions a knee could jerk in a moment like this one, aren’t there?
By the grace of God, I took the opportunity that this conversation presented to sit at the foot of the cross together with my sister and agree with her wholeheartedly. Not one person is adequate to meet the needs of everyone except Jesus.
Whatever we do, we work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from him he will give us our inheritance as our reward (Col. 3:23-24).
When I fully expect that everyone needs the grace of God that freely flows to us because of Christ’s atoning death on the cross, I find that I am free to serve God cheerfully. My ministry to others is also free– emancipated from the shackles of making me feel okay, useful, liked, or important.
Amid all of the expectations that come from others (and from yourself), expect that God’s grace will always be sufficient for you all (2 Cor. 12:9).We must expect that we are always dependent on God’s grace (and so is everyone else).