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Thirsty ministers’ wives can find Jesus’ living water, Kay Arthur says

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Ministers’ wives may know the facts about God but may not have encountered him for who he is, and that is why they may be longing for something more in their lives, Kay Arthur told more than 1,200 Southern Baptist ministers’ wives at a luncheon on Jun. 12.

Against a backdrop of water trickling from a fountain on the stage, Arthur, founder and president of Precept Ministries in Chattanooga, Tenn., asked the women gathered for 46th annual Ministers’ Wives Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention, “Are you thirsty? Is there a longing in your soul?”

Speaking on the theme, “Lord, Fill My Cup,” Arthur said maybe the reason some ministers’ wives feel their cups are empty is because they really do not know God as personally and intimately as they should.

Pointing to Jesus’ first words in John 4:10, “If you knew the gift of God,” Arthur said, “We’re so busy. We’re so entangled in the affairs of life that we really don’t know God to the depth and the dimension that we need to know him.

“We are in a state of such parchness that our tongues are swollen from a lack of water in our lives,” she said.

Pointing to John 4:14, where Jesus tells the Samaritan woman of the living water which is himself, Arthur said, “Precious one, listen to me. No human being, no situation, no circumstance will satisfy that longing in your soul. God built you to be filled with him and him alone. God will not let you be satisfied with anything less than the fountain of living water that springs up to eternal life, a fountain that you drink from, and drink from and drink from….”

Like the woman at the well, Arthur shared that she had searched for things that could not satisfy. Desperately wanting unconditional love, she had left her husband of six years and experienced multiple relationships, like the Samaritan woman. Still unable to satisfy the deep longing in her soul, Arthur dropped to her knees at the age of 29, asking Jesus to fill her “empty, empty soul.”

In Jesus, she found the answer to her deep longing. “If you are in a situation where you think that you can’t make it, let me just tell you this,” she said: “If you will come to the water of God’s Word, and if you will drink deeply and you will drink richly … continuously … then you will be taking it in and it will be flowing out,” she said.

She noted that it was a chore for the Samaritan woman to go to the well to draw water. In addition to the physical labor involved, she had to face women with “forked tongues” who gossiped and spoke against her.

Noting the persecution many ministers’ wives face, Arthur asked, “Has your life, ministry, being a pastor’s wife, become a chore?”

Expressing righteous indignation toward congregations who brutalize and tear down their pastors, she exhorted, “If you are married to a pastor, this is God’s will in Christ Jesus concerning you. He will take it and if you will allow him, he will turn the chore to a career that will bring you untold blessing, and you will not be ashamed when you see him standing face to face at the judgment seat of Christ, if you will just know he is there standing before you.

“If you are going to have your cup full, if you are going to be satisfied, if you are going to be full and running over, then, Precious One, you need to learn and develop the habit in your life of the one thing that is needful,” Arthur said, pointing to Psalm 27:4, Luke 10:42 and Philippians 3:13, Scriptures that paint pictures of God’s people delighting in God’s presence and seeking him above all else.

“Be a woman of one thing, and everything else will fall into place,” Arthur concluded.

Arthur and her husband, Jack, are the founders of Precept Ministries International, a Bible-teaching outreach based in Chattanooga, Tenn., with Bible study classes now extending to all 50 states and nearly 120 countries and more than 60 languages. The author of Precept Upon Precept Inductive Bible Studies and more than 40 books, with more than 5 million in print, Arthur’s most recent releases are “A Marriage Without Regrets” and “How to Study Your Bible for Kids.”

During the luncheon, Goldia Dalton Naylor, wife of the late Robert Naylor, former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was given the Mrs. J.M. Dawson Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Minister’s Wife 2001. Recognized for “distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church,” Naylor also served as a minister’s wife for more than 25 years in churches across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The conference’s executive committee voted last year to begin naming a recipient yearly. Established in the 1950s, the Mrs. J.M. Dawson Distinguished Service Award has only been presented 10 times. Anyone wishing to submit a nomination may send a written request to Lynda Estep, wife of Wendell Estep, pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C., at P.O. Box 1000, Columbia, SC 29202. Include the nominee’s name, address and phone number, along with your name, address and phone number and an explanation of the nomination.

The conference’s outgoing president, Teresa Brown, wife of Joe Brown, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C., introduced the 2001-2002 ministers’ wives’ president, Jeana Floyd, wife of Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark., who introduced the remaining officers: vice president, Verlena Davidson, wife of Gerald Davidson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Arnold, Mo.; recording secretary/treasurer, Cynthia Thompson, wife of Larry Thompson, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and corresponding secretary, Ginger Spradlin, wife of Roger Spradlin, co-pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif.

The ticket price for this year’s luncheon and future luncheons was significantly reduced due to the Ministers’ Wives Endowment Fund, coordinated by Nancy Sullivan, wife of John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention. Funding opportunities remain open to defray costs. For more information, contact Sullivan at the Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207.

In other action, the Minister’s Wives Conference voted to come under the umbrella of the Southern Baptist Convention by adopting two changes to their bylaws:

— A purpose statement was added to meet IRS requirements, written as follows: “The Conference is formed exclusively for religious and charitable purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. The Conference shall provide and promote fellowship, information, and inspiration consistent with these purposes.”

— A dedication provision, stating that should the organization dissolve, its assets will be distributed for exempt purposes, was also added, written as follows: “Upon the dissolution of the Conference, its assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a court of competent jurisdiction exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations as said court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.”

Next year’s ministers’ wives luncheon in St. Louis will feature Janet Parshall, host of “Janet Parshall’s America,” one of the few conservative talk shows in America hosted by a woman. As a radio and television commentator, author and advocate for the family, Parshall is much sought after nationally to speak on public policy issues that impact family preservation and family promotion. She has appeared on numerous national television and radio networks, including Crossfire, Nightline and Larry King Live.

The luncheon, always held at noon on Tuesday during the SBC annual meeting, is open to all wives of ministers — pastors, staff members, chaplains, missionaries and denominational workers.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: KAY ARTHUR CHATS WITH SBC MINISTERS’ WIVES.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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