Troublesome Topic: Difficulties for Pastors and Pastors’ Wives

Resting seems to be particularly difficult for those involved in fulltime ministry. If you are a spiritual leader of some sort, Satan is sure to fight you in the area of rest. One of his favorite tools is the busyness that comes with trying to help others get close to God. I know from experience that a pastor’s schedule is often dictated by the needs of others. For this very reason we must purposefully strive to be more like Jesus and say, “I will not allow anyone else to set my priorities or dictate my schedule. Time with God must always remain my top priority.” For a person in ministry “it is all too easy to become preoccupied with pointing others to Jesus Christ that we can easily forget to point ourselves to Him on a daily basis.”

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Oswald Chambers said, “The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him.”

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Many pastors do enjoy reasonable time with God on a daily basis; but some do not. Also many pastors struggle to enjoy large chunks of time with Him on a weekly basis. Many do not enjoy a day of rest at all. Yet pastors are to be good examples for others. If we do not give priority to prayer, we are being an example of how to do ministry in our own strength. Our intentions may be good, but our habits often reveal a reliance on frenetic activity. We think that if we stop running at a frantic pace everything will come crashing down.

How foolish of us. We know in our heads that there is no substitute for a life of prayer, but our actions reveal that we only partially believe it.

Another problem is that a preaching pastor is always looking for a sermon, therefore he can get to the place where he seldom studies the Word just to learn and grow. If this is the case, his preaching is like trying to draw water from an empty well.

Difficulties for a Pastor’s Wife

If my observations are correct, it is at least as difficult, and possibly more difficult, for a pastor’s wife to get alone with God for chunks of time than for a pastor. Obviously every situation is different. But if a pastor lets people know clearly that there are times when he is not available (e.g. his day off) quite a few people understand that and will respect it. He may even have people remind him that he should not make ministry related commitments for that time.

But does anyone protect the pastor’s wife from overdoing? She has her set of responsibilities as well as those that come by association from her husband’s role. When I was a pastor, my wife was a homeschooling mom, a piano teacher, and a pastor’s wife, on top of having to do the normal things that keeping a home entails. I realized after years of being a pastor that I had not enabled her to enjoy chunks of time alone with God. I had failed to create opportunities my wife needed to enjoy one day of rest per week.

Whoever you are, you need to make sure that any ministry to others is done out of an overflow of time with God, not from the bottom of your tank.

the next lesson is How Do I know My Trough Is Overflowing?



Leslie Ludy, Authentic Beauty, p. 143.


Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Devotional for January 18th.