As a church leader how do your children view the make-up of your life? Where do they see themselves as fitting into your lifestyle? Are you and I nurturing embittered children who feel that we are giving all our time to “church” while they feel neglected?
Now to be in church leadership inevitably creates a situation where you have to balance the differing aspects of your life. Circumstances differ, but often there are marriage, family, community, work and social responsibilities to mix into the full embrace of life alongside church commitments. The people who can often feel neglected in a busy life are those who are closest to us. And the problem is a particular danger for those who are financially remunerated for the church work which they are engaged in.
There is a mixture of love and duty which come in to play here. Out of love for the Lord and the people under our care we want to spend and be spent in the joyous privilege of serving the Lord through serving his people. And then there is the duty. When I have been set aside for the fulfilling of a certain ministry then I want to make sure that I fulfil my responsibilities diligently. There is obviously much that is admirable here, but the problem comes when our lives get overtaken by “Church”. When our wives and children start to feel that they see little of us and have little of their time and attention then we are in trouble.
We have to make sure that we give good and proper attention to our wives and children. Let us think about the children here. When the children start to despise church because they see it as the entity that deprives them of their father’s attention then something has gone seriously wrong. In fact in doing this we are actually disqualifying ourselves from the task we are giving our time to. In 1 Timothy 3: 4 Paul says of the elder that He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. We deduce from this that when the children are exasperated about their Father’s time management then he is not demonstrating the qualities demanded by this scripture.
As church leaders then we must make sure that we give priority to our wives and children. To fail to do so not only causes them immense distress, it also disqualifies us from the ministry we have given ourselves to. Making sure that we do allocate our time, energies and affections properly does not mean a one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual has to work it out. But we have to work it out!
Super-spiritual attitudes whereby we pride ourselves on giving so much to the Lord and His church will not do. We have to work this out. Holidays and family mealtimes are two things that need to have a high priority. Otherwise the details must be worked through, but they must be worked through.