In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. (1 Timothy 3:11)
Does it really matter whether a leader’s wife is a person of character? After all, when someone assumes a place of leadership, his family isn’t being asked to lead….right? Well, partly.
No, a Deacons’ wife should not be expected to lead. She might lead, and her life will be a blessing to those who follow her. But this is not a biblical expectation. In fact, sometimes the spouse of a leader can set an example of what it means to follow.
Yet, leader’s wives do have some specific opportunities, and as a result need to give attention to a few character points. If care is not taken, they can diminish the influence of their husbands.
Before I continue, although Deacons’ wives are the topic of our passage, I believe the principles shared here are applicable for the husbands or wives of any spiritual leader. So be sure to adapt them for your situation.
First, the wife of a Deacon is worthy of respect. We aren’t given any specifics, but she obviously must have a good reputation inside and outside of the church family. This doesn’t mean she should be expected to be perfect, or possess a preconceived set of abilities or personality traits. Rather, it suggests she practices high moral standards and treats others with respect.
She is not a malicious talker. Some of us are really good at shrouding malicious conversation in “god-talk.” We might wrap it in a prayer request about someone we heard was “struggling.” We might talk about something someone did that is “weighing us down.” And we might even claim to be mind-readers and talk about something in another person’s life that “God laid on our hearts” or “revealed to us”. But it is all gossip. And that’s all I have to say about that, except to remind us all if we do this, or listen to it, we shouldn’t pretend it is something else.
She is temperate. A leader’s life is so packed with emotion, his marriage partner needs to be able to restore his perspective, and not continually add to his drama.
She is trustworthy in everything. In a way, Paul’s thought on “malicious talk” and this point go together. A Deacon’s wife (and, as I have suggested, any leader’s spouse) is often aware of confidential and potentially harmful information about others. She may also be aware of other’s weaknesses. But as a woman of God, her desire is to build others up and protect the journey people are on as they struggle to grow in every way.
I have always found it interesting that Paul talks about a Deacon’s wife, but not an Elder’s wife. In light of my other references in today’s devotion, I certainly think Paul’s points are transferable to all leaders. Maybe Paul had some specific Deacon’s wives in mind as he wrote, and therefore only included them.
Whatever the case, a leader is only as strong as the attitude he is surrounded with in his home. And a wife who lives for God, and demonstrates His heart in every way is a leader’s greatest asset.
Dear God, thank You for those who stand with Your leaders. In Jesus’ name, Amen.