Okay okay, don’t worry…I’m not losin’ any love for John Wesley. But it’s occurred to me a major difference between him and myself. Wesley traveled all over the place, preaching, teaching, admonishing, launching ministries, etc. To the point where he even authored many things while riding horseback between events in his life. It is a big difference:
I am a family man.
I think the same could be said for *gasp* Jesus also. While there is an incredible amount to gain by paying attention to the life and ministry of both of these men (one more than the other, for obvious reasons), I think we generally overlook the lacking element of being a husband (a decent one, at least, in Wesley’s case) and a father.
Thankfully, I have had some pretty good men in my life. Men who have lived out what it meant to be a good husband and father. Yet still, in Christianity we see Pastors and lay people alike, seeking to reflect the ministry of men like these, as opposed to the heart and Spirit. Plates are full, and we run around trying to make sure every plate continues to spin without crashing; all the while adding a few more here and there.
Would it be more productive to not get married and/or have kids, and be able to devote more of my time and energy to the work of the Church? Yup. For the past 6 years, and the rest of my life, the church I minister among will be forced to recognize I’m a father and a husband. My church does a great job of embracing that role in me, and giving me freedoms to do it well, even if I don’t always seem to.
As Christians, and especially as those in ministry (I know our jobs are extremely taxing sometimes, but I also know we have certain freedoms that assist us in achieving “balance” that others seriously envy.) we need to be husbands and fathers who practice an example of Kingdom work through being spouses and parents. Maybe even by letting a few of the plates crash, or be spun by others, so that we can spend time and resources on our families and marriages.
We’ve been trained that the work of the Kingdom is “saving souls”. When we reduce the ministry to that, then yes….it becomes easy to sacrifice family time for trying to convince one more sinner to repent. But when I view my family and my marriage as a crucial part of my ministry…as one who says with Christ, “follow me”…then I must set marital and familial health as high goals.
I don’t say all of this as someone who has figured it out, by any means. I’m simply giving myself a lecture prior to a busy Fall, and allowing others to hear it; in hopes that maybe someone else needed to hear these words also.