Family first. Ministry second.
That’s my creed.
I strive for that because I’ve seen far too many families torn a part because the ministry was put before the needs of the home were met. I don’t want my kids to grow up hating God because dad was always at church and never spending time with them. I want them to catch how much their heavenly Father loves them because of how much I do.
But can I let you in on a little secret?
I find that ministry is easy. It’s family that’s hard for me.
Now I understand something: there are days when ministry is VERY hard. When there’s an unexpected death, or totally unhealthy ministry expectations, or when four committee chairman are “just stopping by” your office to have conversations that may or may not determine your future employment.
But there are also the great students to spend time with and the awesome chance you get to study and teach the Bible, for a living!
When ministry gets hard, I can escape for a while. That might mean getting out of the office, or spending time with a close partner in ministry, or getting excited about an upcoming ministry opportunity.
But what do you do when family gets hard?
What do you do when the budget is already stretched tight and one of your kids gets sick? You’re whole family is already on board with “Ramen Night,” but you can’t go back to your college diet with a couple kids and a spouse.
What do you do when the lawn needs to be mowed, the baby’s room needs to be painted (its only been 2 months since they were born anyway), and the garage door refuses to open no matter how much ‘encouragement’ you give the stupid machine.
What happens when your kids are disobedient?
What do you do when your wife is saying she never gets time with you?
Or what happens when you got home late, helped with homework while scarfing down the leftovers, ensured that the kids are bathed, then stared at the bills to be paid and began writing the checks you don’t have money for.
And sometime around 11:15 pm, you realize your wife’s birthday is soon. Like tomorrow soon.
So what do you do when ministry is hard, but family is easy?
Wait up for part two to see some suggestions for what I’ve done and found helps me do what’s most important.