As I prepared this morning for Sunday’s sermon, something I read from Wayne Grudem’s commentary on 1 Peter made me think about marriage and ministry.
First, here is the verse from 1 Peter:
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
And here is what Grudem wrote:
No Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by his life without an effective ministry of prayer. And no husband may expect an effective prayer life unless he lives with his wife ‘in an understanding way, bestowing honour’ on her. To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God’s will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight. (p. 146)
1 Peter 3:7 applies to all Christian husbands, but here is also a special application for ministers (and elders, for that matter). If no “Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by his life without an effective ministry of prayer,” then how much more true is it that no Christian pastor should think his ministry will be fruitful without effective prayer? After all, prayer is a vital and necessary part of a minister’s work (Acts 6:4). Therefore, the labors of a pastor whose prayers are hindered can bear little or no eternal fruit.
In light of a minister’s high calling, presbyteries are rightfully concerned to examine a pastoral candidate’s life, faith, theology, and giftedness in preaching and teaching. In light of 1 Peter 3:7, and Grudem’s insightful remarks, maybe presbyteries should also interview the wife of a pastoral candidate, to learn how faithful he is to love and honor her? Because a minister who fails here is just not letting his wife down, but he’s fatally undermining his service to the Church.