Focus on the Family…and Ministry

Every morning I usually log onto the CBN News web site to read about current events from a Christian perspective. One of today’s headlines was “Evangelist Benny Hinn Opens Heart to Viewers.” The Israeli-born televangelist talked about his wife recently divorcing him. Benny admitted he was so “busy in the ministry” that he neglected his family and urged viewers not to do likewise.

Billy Graham has also regretted not spending enough time with his family. In his autobiography “Just As I Am”, the evangelist wrote that "...over the years, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Team became my second family without my realizing it. Ruth [Billy’s deceased wife] says those of us who were off traveling missed the best part of our lives—enjoying the children as they grew. She is probably right. I was too busy preaching all over the world.” Billy also confessed, “Every day I was absent from my family is gone forever. Although much of that travel was necessary, some of it was not.”

Nonetheless, a minister should not let family matters prevent him from doing the work of the Lord. When one disciple asked the Lord to "let me first go and bury my father”, Jesus' response was, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22) In 2 Samuel 6, King David returned to Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant and danced before it. In response, his wife Michal voiced harsh criticism. David wouldn’t let her negativity discourage him and said in verse 22, “I will be even more undignified than this.” As a result of her resentment, Michal remained childless.

People can open up doors to the devil by not obeying the call of God on their lives. Back in the 1800’s, Maria Woodworth-Etter was called to preach the gospel at a young age. She resisted at first because she didn’t think people would receive ministry from her because of being a woman. So Maria got married and tried to live a “normal” life of being a housewife and mother. During that time, five of her six children died from disease. When Maria finally answered the call to preach, it broke the curse upon her family.

In recent years, the Lord has led me to spend part of the summer in the Fargo, North Dakota area to see family members as well as evangelize there. Last month I went up to my hometown again. One night as I was riding in the car with my dad, I was surprised to hear him ask questions about my street ministry. Although there are still differences in our spiritual beliefs, my dad said he was proud of me. Every son needs to hear that from his father.

Strong family relationships are important to God but so are fulfilling His plans and purposes to get the gospel out to a lost and dying world. 1 Timothy 4:14 says, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you.” So if you have family obligations but also called to the five-fold ministry, ask the Lord to show you how to properly balance your time. We must be good stewards of both these important responsibilities.

“for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” - 1 Timothy 3:5

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