You would think that a country that rebelled against the land of kings, queens, ladies and lords would not choose the term “lady” implying some sort of royalty. Is there a desire in the hearts of man to have royalty? The world was certainly enamored with Princess Di, even without any functional powers. In fact, since Britain changed to a constitutional form of government, British royalty no longer has ruling powers. The function of the Queen appears to be very similar to that of a first lady. The only real difference is that the Queen inherits her position; the first lady gets hers by default.
It appears that “First gentleman” would be appropriate for a man whose wife was elected President. It’s used by the Philippines and by states when women are elected governor. Governor Sarah Palin referred to her husband as “First Dude.” Mike Gregoire, whose wife was the governor of Washington, preferred to be called, “First Mike.” So, if Hillary gets in, will we have “First Bill?” The former President joked that perhaps he would be “First Lad” or “First Mate.” Whatever it is, would the job description look the same for a man?
First Ladies of the Bible
Like our Constitution, the Bible has no definition for first lady, but we do have some great examples of leaders’ wives, and what they did well, and not so well.
The first lady of the Bible was Eve, and she was perfect in every way until Satan convinced her to sin and take the first man down with her. If the first lady’s position is to support her husband and keep him above reproach, she failed miserably. It caused Adam to lose his position with God as righteous.
Abraham (formerly Abram) is called the father of our faith, because by faith he left his home in Harran and headed for a land God promised to show him, even though he did not know where that was. God promised Abram that He would make him into a great nation. Sarah (formerly Sarai) was by his side through it all … the first lady of the faith.
Neither of them understood the office to which God had called her and took matters into their own hands. God’s promise was to make his nation through the two of them, but they underestimated God. Abram failed when twice, he tried to pawn his wife off as his sister to foreign rulers to save himself. Twice it backfired. Even so, Sarai honored her husband’s decision, and for that, she did well.
Sarai failed when she got impatient with her barrenness. She came up with the scheme to have a child through their maid. That was a disaster waiting to happen. It backfired.
Genesis 18 contains the scene when the Lord appeared to Abraham along with several others. Abraham called upon Sarah to do her first lady hostess duties of getting their finest wheat and preparing their best bread, which she did well.
Another duty of first ladies is to understand proper dignitary protocol. Sarah blundered when she laughed at the Lord when he said she would have a son in her old age and then lied about it when He questioned her. Can you imagine the headlines if that happened today? Major fail.
Even so, God kept Abraham in office, honoring His covenant promise by allowing Sarah to birth Isaac and fulfill the covenant.
What Kind of First Spouse Are You?
God has appointed us to our offices as husband and wife. He called us to be our spouses’ chief encouragers.
- Do you execute your God-appointed office in a manner that glorifies God and your spouse?
- By word count, do you use more words to bless or criticize your spouse?
- Do you use proper protocol in public, making your spouse look good, or do you put them down (even jokingly)?
- Do you serve one another sacrificially, as Christ served the Church, coming, not as a master to laud his power over us but, in humility to build us up?
- Do you use your marriage to serve the needs of God’s kingdom?
As we enter this presidential election season, won’t you vote for your marriage by reflecting on your performance as first lady or first gentleman and calling upon God to help you raise the office to which you were called?
Patricia Hartman is a forensic CPA/partner at Kofsky, Hartman & Weinger, PA. (www.khwcpa.com), a speaker, author of “The Christian Prenuptial Agreement” (www.ChristianPrenuptial.com), president of South Florida Word Weavers and a board member of Living Water Christian Counseling.