I would like each family to sit down and assess their situation individually to figure out where our time is going. Sara and I have started doing that ourselves and it will be an ever evolving issue that must have attention when working in ministry. We as people love to fill up our schedules and I believe that is fine but it cannot be at the cost of losing time with God. The first relationship that needs to be groomed is the one with God. How are each of you doing with Bible reading and prayer? The next relationship is the one with your wife or husband. How are you serving them selflessly and showing them Christ through your interaction? Then of course we pour into our children and then others. This will mostly look differently in each family but there are some constants that should always be there when dealing with each group of people mentioned.
For starters God is the most important relationship we have and his will for our lives is revealed to us through His word, and prayer. If we are not doing either, or we are doing them less than we should, we are hindering God and our own spiritual growth. This leads to selfishness and the abandonment of selflessness. We begin to blame others and retract from the relationships that God wants us to nurture. We begin to think, “Why am I working so hard and no one else is?” Much like our marriage, it doesn’t matter if the other person is only giving 50%, we are called to give 100%. You see, with all the stress in our life, where do you get refilled? Is it sitting in the backyard not talking with anyone, is it a vacation from your duties, or is it at the field watching the kids play sports? If your rest isn’t in the Lord, you are wasting your time. You are getting a momentary fix that feels good at the moment and then leaves you void and feeling the same way again. Does that sound familiar? That is the same thing that sin does to our lives. It is a momentary good feeling or release that leaves us void. God is the only source that fills us up and gives relief. Did we hear of Jesus taking vacations from his ministry? The only thing we hear of him doing through his ministry was retiring to a quiet place to pray. The night before he died he didn’t go sit on the beach and have a glass of wine to relax. He went to God and prayed and wept. That is our model. We get exhausted and we go to God for rest because he will not leave us void. I am not saying we need to never go on vacation. If you do, it better be God focused and God honoring.
Our spouses are the next relationships that should be guarded relentlessly. Are you praying together, are you serving God together? Are you serving the community in some fashion together? How are you doing talking to each other? Do you talk about the Bible together? How does your relationship look to the outside world including your children? Much like our own relationship with God, and that we should be going to Him for relaxation, are you modeling that for your spouse, or does your spouse see you get stressed out and beg for something to relieve it? Your children need to see that when you are stressed you go to God and not yelling and arguing with each other. Nurture this relationship and remember that the enemy wants nothing more than division in our marriages, and consequently his church called Catalyst.
We must also take care to lead our children to Christ and exemplify what Christ should look like in their life as well. Do your children see an excited and exuberant Christian marriage or do they wonder why in the world they would want to do the same thing their parents are doing? Why in the world would our children want to follow us if we seem miserable? Why would they want to follow a God that promises a life abundant but yet we seem miserable? Our children think that we are doing everything that is taught in church. They believe that we are reading our Bible and praying constantly. So their question to us would be, is it working?
Serving others is the last relationship to discuss. We should serve others just as selflessly as we serve each other. We should view the other spouses in our church as the brothers and sisters in Christ that they are. Disagreements will happen, but love should abound no matter what. We are studying 1 Corinthians and Paul urges them to unity. That is what I am calling on for Catalyst as well, unity in the body of Christ above all else. We also have a chance to serve non-believers through Roberts Hall. How does that look to them? It doesn’t matter what all we have done for them, the question is how does it look to them? Don’t forget about the church that meets before ours. We should be praying that if the ministry is of God, that it will be successful and we should be doing all we can to support and honor their tenancy in the building. Put ourselves in their place and ask; “How would we feel if a church of 500 moved in and held services after ours, would we be as gracious as they have been?” The bottom line is this, love them above all else and do as Jesus would do in all situations.
The question should always be this; “Are my actions moving the other person closer to God or pushing them away?” If it is with a church member, is this discussion moving us to unity or further away? Very simple stuff but extremely difficult to do. I do not expect us to always agree but I do expect us to always go forward in unity. Paul pleads with the church at Corinth for this and I plead for the church at Lynn Haven to do the same.
Finally as I reread this blog I am completely convicted. Therefore I realize that since the spirit prompted me to write this it will most likely convict all of us in some fashion. When we get convicted there are two responses that we can take. The first is to reject the teaching as the person trying to call you out specifically. Or we can receive the teaching and realize the reaction we have is because God is pruning us. The reaction is up to you in this matter. I am praying that we all follow the model of the latter reaction. I pray for the catalyst families and always will.
Peace and Blessings,