At the last church I was employed at, I was one of two full time staff members. This meant that an extremely heavy load was placed on me. Being young and naïve, I figured, if I’m doing work for the church, then I’m doing work for God, so it must be good. Long days and even longer nights left my wife and at that time recently born child home alone until the early hours of the morning many nights. All in the name of ministry.
Since I’ve been out of full time ministry, I’ve learned a few things. THERE’S NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR FAMILY!!!!!!!!
There are two ways that the Bible often describes God (this is not an all-inclusive list, just two of the descriptive terms): Father, and bridge-groom (or husband for those that don’t call it that). If we are striving to be more like God/Jesus, we should be striving to be better spouses and parents. Especially as ministers, we tend to put our churches needs above the needs of those that matter the most in our lives. The people that sacrifice more than any of our team members are the people that we share our home with. As we are out there, giving our all for the cause, they are left alone wishing mommy or daddy was around more, or that husband or wife would spend a little more time with them than at the church.
Am I saying that ministry is bad? Of course not! However, like with all things that are in scripture, you must have balance in your life. There’s a time to do work, and there’s a time to just say no. My biggest problem was that I was intimidated by those two little letters. NO. Try it. Say it out loud a few times. Nothing catastrophic just happened, did it? Nope. Because, it is ok to say no sometimes. You don’t have to do everything. You shouldn’t do everything. Don’t do everything.
The last thing you want to do at the end of your time in ministry is have regrets of neglecting your family. That will haunt you way more than the potential people you could have reached had you just put in a few more hours at the office. Take it from me. This is one mistake you cannot afford to make. I am lucky that I have a wife who put up with me. Now I just have to keep myself in check so that I don’t ever have to make her put up with me again.
Put the first things first. Be that good spouse. Be a fantastic parent. Your family deserves it, and God will honor it.