My husband was considering the pastorate of a country church. The couple with whom we were staying overnight took us to the parsonage. I couldn't believe my eyes! It was an old, partly-whitewashed, pieced-together shack with a tin roof. It was about the most disreputable-looking place I had ever seen!
"It doesn't look like much on the outside," said the lady apologetically, "but it's not too bad on the inside."
"And it does have hot and cold running water and an indoor bathroom," added the man. At the time I didn't realize that was more than some of the parishioners had!
Then the lady tapped me on the shoulder. "Turn around," she said, "and look." She waved her arm in a sweeping motion. "Isn't that the most gorgeous view you have ever seen?"
We looked out from the high ridge upon miles and miles of fields, trees, and valleys. "You can even see the next state from here," declared the lady. "And look off in that other direction!"
We did as she suggested. That view almost took our breath away, it was so majestic.
My husband was called by that church and accepted the pastorate. His salary was very low, but farm products such as meat and vegetables would be given to us by the people. A wood-burning stove in the living room heated the four rooms of the "parsonage." We had resident black spiders about as big as a quarter, and the area was well known as rattlesnake country.
But oh, the far view! How it thrilled and rested my soul to look out at it any and all seasons! During the winter, the dark outline of trees stood out starkly from the sparkling white snow, with an intensely blue sky oierhead. During the spring, wherever one looked, one could see the white and pink blossoms of apple and cherry trees, the lime-green of freshly-budded foliage, and new shoots of corn coming up in the fields. In the summer the corn grew tall, the blackberries down in the valley ripened, and cows grazed contentedly. In the fall, the maples were a riot of color as were the sunsets. Yes, the far view was beautiful.
Far view for us
What is the special far view for pastors' wives? I have found various facets through my own experience.
1. Winning souls to Christ
In every church my husband pastored, I found fertile fields of souls to harvest for Jesus. In that country church, my husband and I cooperated with a couple in our church who headed the youth work. Periodically they would host a social at their farm for children or teenagers. My husband and I would go far and wide picking up children.
One evening the social included a hay ride under a harvest moon followed by delicious refreshments prepared by the wife. I brought a devotional talk. Present was a 13-year-old wheelchair-bound boy with muscular dystrophy. Although he had never been to church, our women's missionary group had brought him a box of gifts and goodies. I had tucked in a Gospel of John.
Daniel listened attentively to my message, which included the story of Jesus and His great salvation. When I said that anyone could come to Jesus and receive Him as their Savior, Daniel interrupted—"Please, Mrs. Larson, can I receive Him right now?"
I never stand on ceremony. I stopped right there, spoke further to Daniel, and then led him in a prayer to receive Jesus. When he lifted his head, his face was radiant.
A month later Daniel went to sleep in His Savior—and his parents and six sisters started attending our church.
In other churches the Lord gave me opportunities to help many children come to Christ, especially through Vacation Bible School. And of course, I was able to help women come to Him and discipled them through Bible studies.
2. Serving in many ways
In that country church I also served as a teacher and started a library. My husband and I also cleaned the church (keeps you humble!). Through leading the 4-H choir (we won second place in the annual competition), I was able to reach out into the community, which added some new members.
In other churches I served as unpaid organist, pianist, choir director, churchsecretary, director of Vacation Bible School, visitor, counselor, devotional bringer, and filled in wherever necessary.
Serving my Lord Jesus with my life has been wonderful to me; but life is not particularly easy for a minister's wife. Along with the beautiful far view we enjoy, we may suffer bumps and bruises, criticisms and disappointments, depressing circumstances. But our Lord never promised His servants easy lives!
Cheer up—keep looking to Jesus and the ultimate far view! Second Corinthians 4:17-18 says: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (KJV).
If we live for this life only, we may enjoy temporal conveniences and pleasures. But if we keep our eyes on the far view—Jesus, eternity, and what the impact of our lives and services might have on many precious souls—we'll enjoy peace, joy, and satisfaction that few in this world know!
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory" (Col, 3:2-4, NIV).