“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
—2 Corinthians 6:14–18, KJV
My wife, wonderful friend, confidante, and companion in ministry—Jo Ann Carey—has lived a holy lifestyle before God and men. She has never complained about our lack of possessions, about her call in ministry, or about our divine purpose in Christ Jesus. She has exemplified what a godly spouse and co-parent should be according to the Scriptures. I know there are many spouses, both men and women, about whom this could be said. Pastors, we should honor our spouses at all times.
Jo Ann has played and is playing a dynamic part in the ministry God placed in my hands, both across the years and in retirement. Whether a pastor is a man or woman, a pastor’s spouse has a significant role to play in that pastor’s ministry. Your spouse is a gift from Christ. Esteem your spouse highly in the Lord—always! Don’t ever hesitate to toot that horn in concert with the Lord. Recognize your spouse publicly as much as you possibly can in the house of God. Always hold your spouse in high esteem before the people of God. Be thankful for the divine blessing that is your spouse, for they complement the Lord’s ministry through you.
When the Lord placed Jo Ann next to me, I could not have begun to fathom at that time what would become her great worth to the kingdom of Christ and also to me. A godly spouse is paramount in ministry; there must be sweet harmony for that ministry to be truly favored by God. Amos 3:3 (KJV) says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Jo Ann and I have walked in sweet harmony since day one. I don’t know how you and your spouse met, but for Jo Ann and me, we’re a gift to each other. Remember your early days; as the Lord developed the bonds of love between you and your spouse, he brought you closer day by day and allowed a kindred spirit to surround you. The Lord has taken us and sharpened us with each other: “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17, KJV).
From the first day in our relationship, Jo Ann has talked Jesus, lived Jesus, and literally displayed the Lord on her countenance, unashamed.
Godliness was an important attribute that I wanted in a spouse. From the first day in our relationship, Jo Ann has talked Jesus, lived Jesus, and literally displayed the Lord on her countenance, unashamed. My wife is very devoted to Christ and gives her all to prayer and studying Scripture, and I appreciate this about her. During our full-time ministry and in retirement, this godly woman has given of her complete self, unselfishly to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She has complemented the gifts of the Lord through me in several ways. She has always served Christ first, then our family, and herself last. She has always been faithful to the Lord.
One of Jo Ann’s particular gifts is coming alongside other women in the church. I once witnessed her help the wife of a pastor friend of mine who didn’t know how to do laundry. Jo Ann helped her learn. Jo Ann also has a gift in coming alongside elderly saints in housecleaning and meal preparation. Jo Ann has taught and led in virtually every venue in the church: VBS director, youth Sunday school, missions president, NYI director, Caravan director, choir director, church board secretary, church treasurer, cleaning committee, director for the food pantry and clothes closet, leader of sick and shut-in visitations, evangelism and outreach participant, afterschool tutor—and, of course, she has faithfully been my love, friend, confidante, and prayer partner through it all. Amazingly, she never wants any recognition for her good works.
Jo Ann has held me up in prayer when I was low in spirit or discouraged or dismayed. Pastors and ministers need prayer constantly; who can better pray for a leader of God’s flock than a godly spouse? Many were the times that I hung on her prayers as I tried to manage my bivocational realities under the stresses and pressures of ministry. When I knew Jo Ann was praying for me, it made the strains of the day bearable.
I truly have been highly favored and blessed by God with Jo Ann by my side in life and service to the King. It is now our parting prayer that the Lord has encouraged and is continuing to encourage you in your present assignment. If the Lord has blessed you with a godly spouse, find a way today to express your gratitude to both the Lord for your spouse and to your spouse for the godly ways in which he or she has ministered to you in your life and ministry together.