Category | Parents Ministry

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Jesus said that we must give up our family to follow him, but scripture also tells us that unless a person can manage his house well he cannot be a spiritual leader. For many people these two opposing instructions are difficult to reconcile.

We all know the “Greatest Commandment” is to love the Lord our God with all our heart soul, mind, and strength. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. The real question is to determine whether “church” falls under the category of “loving God” or “loving neighbors”? And if the “church” is grouped with “family” under the category of “neighbors”, then which is of higher priority?

Many people set the priority as follows

  1. God
  2. Neighbors
    1. Family
    2. Church

 

Others would set their priorities as follows

  1. God
    1. personal commitment to God
    2. commitment to God’s church
  2. Neighbors
    1. Family
    2. Others

 

In reality the real question is not one of priority between church and family but of personal commitment to God. God MUST be FIRST priority. Yet, we are each in different circumstances and the form or application of that total commitment to God may show itself in different ways. Sometimes God may lead us to minister to our family at the expense of prayer meeting or another ministry of the church. Sometimes God may lead us to serve in the church at the expense of time with family.

When it comes to a choice between family and church programs our real question is not whether family or Church is the higher priority, but what does God want you to do in this situation? if God wants you with your family, none of us are indispensable to the church, and God will take care of his people. If God wants you at the church, then he can take care of our families in our absence. Sometimes there is even a third option — that our families serve in the church together. We might even worship God together at home.

But if in general, either is practiced to the continued neglect of the other than we need to step back and re-evaluate. Sometimes problems at home may demand extra time and care. Sometimes those at church may demand extra attention. But God created both the family AND the church and his purposes must have a place for each.

Our mistake comes in the association of Christianity with the church. Our Christianity is not intended to be displayed just in Sunday morning worship or by attendance to a leader’s meeting, but in every aspect of life. The early church was not defined by a building but by the loving relationships between people. And while our relationship with God must be our first priority, our second most significant relationship is with our family. Yet both relationships are also connected.

MT 523 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

If we are not right with others, we cannot be right with God. “Others” includes our family and they need our ministry, our reconciliation, our gifts, and our presence as much, if not more so, then the rest of the body of Christ! At the end of the day God will not ask us “Did you spend more time with your family or with the church?”, but “Were you obedient? Did you do what I instructed you to do. Was my will done through your life?” We would like a simple equation, but instead God calls us to his will on each decision we make!

 


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