I’ve had to learn something the hard way again…imagine that!!! The Lord is painfully showing me the need of being a faithful pastor to that which Jonathan Edwards called your little church: “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church.” I cannot be a faithful pastor to my wife and son at “big” church until I am a faithful pastor to my wife and son at our own little church.
I think many pastors struggle with this. I know I do. I work at the office preparing sermons, spending time in study, time in prayer, time planning, and time solving all the worlds problems (or at least thinking I can). By the time I get home at night I am exhausted. Home is supposed to be your haven. The place where you go to “get away from work”. The problem is that my “work” is Jesus.
Yeah, yeah I understand that my time at my office should be far more devotional and if my time spent at “work” were more energized by the gospel that when I came home I would be overflowing with Jesus instead of trying to escape ministry. I agree. And that’s the problem. This is why what W.H. Griffith Thomas said hit me like a ton of bricks:
“We cannot make up for failure in our devotional life by redoubling energy in service for Christ. Our work will never rise higher than our devotional life. As water never rises above its level, so what we do never rises above what we are. And in our preaching we shall never take people one hair’s breadth beyond our own spiritual attainment. We may point to higher things, we may ‘allure to brighter worlds,’ but when we ‘lead the way’ we shall only take them just as far as we ourselves have gone. We shall never take people beyond our own spiritual attainment.”
If I can be boldly honest right now I’m less concerned about spiritually leading my congregation. I am far more concerned about being faithful leading my wife and son. If who I am at home does not reflect what I am in the pulpit then it will cripple and badly skew my families view of Jesus, the power of the gospel, and the deep love of God.
If I get 1 less A at seminary, read 5 less books this year, preach 10 less sermons, go to 20 less meetings but my presence at home is far more impacting then I count those things as nothing. What good is it for a preacher to gain his whole congregation but lose his own family? If the Lord chooses to never use me to impact another soul except my wife and child(ren) then I will have been faithful.
May I be faithful to my little church. May it be a church that is filled with love and self-sacrifice. May it be a church that I am willing to die for…and even more so may it be that which I am willing to live for. May I never forsake this sacred charge.