In ancient times, the king or queen was considered the most important figure in the realm. Many were employed to attend to the health and well-being of the ruler. A special chef prepared food for the head of state, making sure all of his or her cravings were met. A tailor made colorful clothes of the finest materials. A jeweler created baubles to adorn the fingers, necks and toes of these important people.
Servants were plentiful, but the most trusted and revered servants were the cupbearers. The cupbearer made sure that no harm would come to the king or queen by tasting all food and drink to ensure it was safe, as well as up to royal standards. If any food or beverage was poisoned, the cupbearer would also be poisoned or killed by the tainted item.
They had direct access to the inner sanctum, and there was a huge level of trust and care involved.
Protecting Our Loved Ones
We as pastors’ wives have similar roles to the cupbearer. We are the ones that are the closest to the leader of the church, and we work very hard to keep poison away from our husbands and kids. We, as pastor/planter wives often hear the "poison" (i.e. chatter) among us, and have to discern if it is truly safe for our kiddos and husbands to hear words that can hurt. We, as cupbearers, make the choice to protect our families from unhealthy and toxic conversations from leaking into the "inner sanctum."
We love our husbands and kids, and we want them to be the happiest and healthiest they can possibly be. We feed them nourishing food, and we promote lots of exercise and good study habits. We encourage them to take care of their bodies, soul and minds. We teach them to be prayerful on what they listen to, and what they fill their minds and hearts with – music, social media, friends that will uplift and encourage them.
Toxins and danger are all around us every day, but we all take precautions to stay healthy and safe. We, as moms and planter/planter wives encourage everyday things like hand washing, seat belts, helmets and sunscreen. We do these things because we care about our people and want them to live in a way that brings them joy and keeps them safe.
Preserving Our Families
But do we take the time to think that maybe the phone call that interrupts dinner or keeps Dad from playing catch or building blocks with his child is toxic? Do we allow things that could really wait for another hour to poison family time? Do the excuses of " just a minute," "we will do that next time," or " I am sorry but this is important" steal joy and infer that church really IS more important than the family?
We as cupbearers need to do our best to keep those time- and joy-sucking phone calls at bay while it is family time. True emergencies will come up, and those are completely understandable. But protecting family time, and the fleeting time of the planter/pastor with his quickly growing kids is a priority.
We are a line of defense in protecting what is crucial – the family unit. The evil one would love nothing more than to destroy a family that serves the one true King. If he takes down a servant family of God, then he can undo an entire church or ministry.
Be careful with giving others access to your husband during special family time. Build boundaries, and explain them to your family. Then when you keep your movie or ice skating date with your family, you are building trust in your family, as well as letting them know that they are important.
Your family is your biggest ministry, so protect your little kingdom. Be the cupbearer!
Katie Wood is a church planting pastor’s wife in Brunswick, Maine. She enjoys encouraging pastors’ and church planting pastors’ wives through her life coaching practice, 29:11.