Is it possible to serve in ministry without neglecting your family? This may sound like a ridiculous question, but one worth answering.
We recently watched a new series on Spike TV called: Life or Debt. This series shows how families handle their money, in which an expert comes in and helps them run their home like a business.
In one particular episode, a Pastor admitted that his ministry came before his family; as a result, his family was suffering. With tears in his eyes, he realized that he couldn’t be effective in ministry with a broken family.
As we watched this program, our hearts ached for this family. Although we do not know them, we are all ONE body in Christ; it saddened us to see this imbalance within the church.
This episode struck a chord in us, because we recognized many followers of Christ get caught up in the act of serving God, and neglect their families.
We’ve shared in Our Story, that when we learned of God’s priorities and purposed to live by them, it not only changed our marriage, it changed our life. So, we want to encourage those who are serving in ministry that have a family to consider the following:
1. Your relationship with God must come first.
You must be careful not to confuse your relationship with God and serving God in the Church as the same. They are two completely different things.
Your relationship with God is not based on your works, or what you can do for Him. Rather, your relationship with God is based on knowing who He is through His Word, praying, listening to His voice, and obeying His commands.
Church attendance does not save us. Yet, we are instructed in Hebrews 10:25 not to forsake the assembly of believers. Attending church allows us to fellowship with our church family. It is through that fellowship, where we develop relationships with one another as we learn who we are in Christ, so that we can apply what we learn to our everyday life.
God has given each of us a unique gift for His purpose. And as we walk as one body, each person using their gift, it gives us the ability to become more effective for the kingdom of God.
2. Serving God is your priority, but it is not your first priority.
The gift’s God has given us to serve within the body of Christ is a priority, but it is not our first priority; especially if you have a family.
Paul explains this best in 1 Corinthians Chapter 7. He explains that singles have the advantage to devote more time to serving God by not having the distraction or obligations to a family.
Considering the time and the work it takes to make a marriage successful, married couples do not have the same amount of time to devote to God in ministry. They have family obligations that must be taken into consideration; when deciding how much time to devote to ministry. (This includes single parents.)
This does not mean; you must be single to serve God. However, God knows if you’re married or a single parent, your time will be divided.
The key to this balance is recognizing that part of your responsibility in serving God also includes prioritizing your family. When we overextend ourselves, it sets a bad example to our children that can turn them away from God instead of to God.
Statistics shows only 20% of church attendees serve within the church. And often times the same people serve in multiple departments. However, Proverbs 11:1 tells us, a false balance is an abomination to the Lord. So while we must serve God in ministry, we must also purpose to keep our place in ministry balanced in our life.
This is why we make our e-book; Embracing God’s Priorities a welcome gift to our email subscribers. Our heart is to help people understand why God’s priorities are in their respective order.
The Twenty- Third Psalm From Japan
In closing, we would like to share The Twenty-Third Psalm from Japan, titled: The Lord is My Pace Setter. We read this a few years ago when we participated in a Bible study regarding time management, and we thought it would be fitting for such a time as this.
The Lord Is My Pace Setter
“The Lord is my pace setter I shall not rush.
He makes me stop for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind.
And his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day
I will not fret, for his presence is here, his timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity, by anointing my mind with his oil of tranquility –
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of my hours,
And I shall walk in the pace of the Lord and dwell in his house forever.”
~ Twenty- Third Psalm From Japan
~ Andre and Timberley Gray