Balancing Family and Ministry

They Do Not Have to Conflict

Time is a gift from God, and Ephesians 5:16 exhorts us to steward it wisely: Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Time is precious. We must not waste it. We must not just use it. We must invest it for the glory of God: “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5).

One of the most used phrases when making excuses for not doing something is, “I don’t have time.” That is never true. We all have the same amount of time. In this area we are all equal. We all have 24 hours every day and 60 minutes in each hour. We must learn to prioritize our time. When I say, “I don’t have time,” what I am really saying is, “This is not a high priority with me.”

About 40 years ago I read the book Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders for the first time. I still read this book every year. The first time I read it I was shocked when I read this statement, “God has given us all the time we need to do everything that He desires for us to do.” When I read that my first thought was, “Evidently I am doing a lot of things that He does not desire for me to do.”

I am sure that most of us could say with Paul, “I count not myself to have apprehended.” We are still striving for a certain goal. I doubt that many of us could honestly say I am totally satisfied with the balance in my God-given ministries.

There are several areas where we need balance in our lives, but we will focus on the balance that is crucial between ministry and family.

God has given us our families and has called us to our ministries. Therefore, by His grace and by following His principles in the Bible we can balance these two tremendously important facets of our lives.

We have put our ministries before our families for far too long, and too many have lost both family and ministry. Here is a simple outline that I believe will help us balance our time between family and ministry:

I. The Responsibility of a Family

Some have mistakenly believed that if they take care of God’s work He will take care of their family. However, we need to remember that God has given us very plain guidelines concerning our responsibility to our spouses and to our children.

I like the often quoted priority list: God first, spouse second, children third, and ministry fourth.

A. Marriage Is God’s Plan—Genesis 2:20–25

1. Woman taken from Adam’s rib
2. The priority of this relationship—v. 24a
3. The unity of the marriage relationship—v. 24b
4. The transparent relationship intended—v. 25
5. The permanence of the union—Matthew 19:3–6

B.  The Joy of Children—Psalm 127:1–5

1. They are a heritage
2. They are an asset, not a liability
3. They deserve our time and attention
4. They need our love, our admonition, and ourselves—Ephesians 6:4

II. The Responsibility of a God-given Ministry—1 Timothy 1:11–14

Like Paul, we should realize what God has done for us.

A. He Has Committed the Gospel to Our Charge

B. He Has Enabled Us

C. He Has Been Merciful to Us

D. He Has Given Us His Great Grace

III. Ministry and Family Do Not Conflict, but Are Complementary

God desires for both my family and my God-given ministry to be fruitful.

A.  I Must Be Thankful for Both

B.  I Must Guard Both

C.  I Must Not Neglect Either

D.  I Must Guard against the Thieves of Time

1. T V
2. Computers
3. Lack of discipline (I must get adequate sleep, but still be up early for time with God and family.)
4. Lack of organization
5. Failure to prioritize

E. I Must Be Spirit-filled—Ephesians 5:18

F. I Must Have God’s Wisdom—James 1:6

Conclusion: Remember that not every opportunity is a responsibility. Make sure that you keep your priorities straight, and you will always have time to do what you should do.

Quote: “I am only one person. I cannot do everything; but what I can do, and should do, I will do for the glory of God.”—Unknown

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”— 1 Corinthians 10:31

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