Family vs. Ministry – Balance

Balance May Be Bad – Unbalance  Can Be Good
(Condensed SWM SP39 Trifold)

For years it has been taught that you must have a balance between family and ministry. *Note: This is written primarily to missionaries and pastors, but the principles also apply to Christian business people and Christians involved in church ministries. The word ministry could also be applied to the church.  [Ref:DVD Pastor Andy Stanley] – Ted Camp.

Balance has been referred to as the “B” word. As I have learned more by experience and from Bible principles, I have reevaluated the “B” ministry.  As one pastor said, “Don’t talk to me about that as I have already changed my mind.” As you serve the Lord and learn more of the Bible and its practices and principles, you learn to change and adapt your past preferences or policies to Bible principles  which never change.

“Since no Christian totally understands the Scriptures, he must from time to time adjust his standards, as his understanding grows.” – Jay Adams

Balance Can Be Bad – I have now learned that you can have too much balance and omit more needed areas. When you seek a “B” ministry it will cause you to become unbalanced in other areas. Illustration: Try to balance a stick or a ruler upon your finger. Can you go through life trying to keep it balanced? Soon you miss more important things because you were concentrating on maintaining balance.  Some seek “B” and it controls their daily life. They become upset or out of control when something  interferes with their planned day. The Pharisees  sought a “B” with the Law. The Lord condemned them. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe … and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23). When balance becomes your goal in life, you can omit weightier matters. It seems that just good old common sense has left many ministries. You can never balance your life, because you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Conclusion: Learn to adjust your life to problems, needs, crises and priorities as they arrive. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to give of your time to those areas that need you the most no matter what your to do list may dictate. Always remember that people are more important than things or programs. I have often said, “Don’t love things but love people.” You can be balanced and omit  weightier matters that need you.

The late Dr. Jerry Falwell often stated, “The only thing God is interested in is people.”

Unbalance May Be Good – When unexpected events occur, you  become suddenly unbalanced. Things can happen that you did not cause and you may not be able to control. Every ministry* will experience unexpected things that cause unbalance. As you become unbalanced, you learn to make adjustments. Let the Holy Spirit control the balances in your life. Learn to make adjustments as needed.  Times can vary as you adjust to your ministry* and family. There will be times you need to put everything aside at the office and go home to your wife and family needs.
Also, there are times your family needs to understand that you must give attention to needs in the ministry. You cannot divide your time into segments and schedules because too many unexpected things can happen to unbalance your life. At one time the philosophy in the ministry was  “Family First.” You take care of God’s work and God will take care of your family.  I have learned that “family” and ministry* are one and the same. Your ministry* and “family” should not conflict. When you try to  balance your “ministry” and “family” you will ignore one and pull away from the other. You cannot do justice to both at the same time. They will become competitive for your time and attention.

You Cannot Separate “Family” and Ministry* – All members of your family should also be involved in all areas of your life, including your ministry. When does your wife stop being your wife? When  do you stop being a Christian or a leader? Example: When your “family” or “ministry” needs your  attention, you need to be “there.” Do not neglect “there moments.” You can create problems when you ignore “there moments.” One or the other will suffer because of lack of attention or too much attention to the other.

Respond to the Need  – You cannot foresee when something may occur that needs your attention, but you can predetermine in your heart that you will respond correctly when the “moments” happen. Realize, you could later have regrets for not being “there.”  The same applies to both your family and ministry*. Base your decisions upon “regrets” you could have for not being “there.” No one else can take your place  in your ministry* and family. Later as you look back, you and others will be grateful that you shared the “there moments.” The “there moments” are also a part of both your “ministry” and “family.” There should be no competition between “family” and “ministry.” Your ministry* is a part of your family and your family is a part of your ministry. Also, you cannot separate the Lord from your ministry, business,  or family. No matter where you are, you still have a family and a ministry. As situations arise, let common sense and the Holy Spirit direct you where you are most needed (Proverbs 3:5-6). Neither will suffer when you respond correctly.  Learn to adjust and respond to the “there moments.”

Don’t Lose Your Family – There is a tendency to make ministry the priority. Your life will be much less complicated, when you realize that “ministry” and “family” are one and the same. You can be successful in ministry* and be a failure in your family.  The Lord gives you the responsiblity to build your family (Ephesians 5:25) and He will build “His” church (Matthew 16:18).  God has been doing a good job without you for many years. Always remember that you are only a steward to manage “His” ministry.

Conclusion: Seek to build both the man and the ministry. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua had no conflict between family and service. Do your best to function as a husband, father and man of God. Both family and ministry should prosper as you put God first in all areas of your life.

You will be glad you did, and so will your family and your ministry*.

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