Sunday, July 19, 2009

Family Time is Overrated

Kevin and I have been heavily involved in church ministry for our entire 19 years of marriage. We have done everything from being youth pastors, singing every week on the worship team, working at our local church as a bookkeeper, secretary and administrator.  We have lead events, Bible studies, men's and women's groups, prayer groups, headed up children's ministry and anything else that we could do, we did.  Whenever we were needed for anything at church, we were there. If it was 3 nights a week, we came.  If we were needed on the weekend to help in preparation or anything else, we were there.  I would never trade these experiences for anything because we have had the privilege to serve and meet so many wonderful people.  We have grown through these wonderful times!

The Bible says to seek God's kingdom first and all of these things shall be added unto you. Serving at church and helping people is definitely a part of seeking God's kingdom but I am beginning to learn that "His kingdom" is not just within the four walls of a church building.  I had convinced myself that my Sunday church service participation was the only eternal thing that I did all week, so I had better give it my all AND never miss it.   Church had become first on our list and if there was any time left over, we would try and squeeze out some time with the family.  

I know for myself personally that I felt that family time was overrated.  Many times volunteers would come to me and say "I need to take a season off as my family is suffering right now because of this commitment."  I would say "Okay, we understand."  But deep down inside I would think, "I'm doing 3 more jobs than you and don't really spend much time with my family, and we're doing great!  We are working and sacrificing for God's kingdom and that's just how it is."  

Back in 2003, I was able to reconnect via email with a precious couple Kevin and I had admired from our church in Indiana.  They were very active in church and I barely ever remember them missing any church service or activity at the church.  They had wonderful children who were all serving the Lord and all went to college and achieved educations with honors.  I asked them a few questions about child raising.  Their answers were so inspiring that I have kept a copy of them to this day.   One of the questions I asked was "Is there anything that you wish you would have done in raising your children that you didn't?"  Their answer was something I never forgot and am just beginning to receive revelation on.

"The major thing we wish we had done that we didn't do is take family vacations.  I didn't say MORE vacations because we only took one the entire time we raised the boys.  That is out of balance.  We need to be serious, but that is far, far too serious.  I think we missed out on some great times of having fun together enjoying God's blessings.  Working hard to get out of debt, working hard to stay out of debt, working hard to see churches built, people fed, lives changed, souls won.  Working hard to get the boys through college without having to start out in debt. All very noble causes, but I'm sure God would have provided for it all, including vacations.  I wish I would have started earlier in my walk with God to know the difference between what was seed and what was bread in our finances.  You don't want to eat your seed, but you don't want to plant your bread either - there is no harvest on planted bread, and no vacations either."

So, from this day on, we have decided to be a little more balanced and realize that investing in our family is valuable.  God is not looking at his watch waiting for us to finish those family moments so we can get back to "His kingdom business."  I realize now that family business is kingdom business too!

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