One of the most important questions a workaholic pastor can ask himself is: What am I sacrificing for the Gospel? As I’ve pointed out this past week God never asks us to sacrifice our health or our marriage. But when we confuse busyness for sacrifice we excuse our illegitimate behaviors as the pursuit of Kingdom impact. In reality these behaviors are evidence of pride and a deficient view of God. I’ll never forget driving down the road when my kids where younger and one of my sons said, “Dad I hate you being a pastor”. When I asked why he spoke of my ever constant distraction with serving “my church”. While I never would have said it out load, my behavior screamed that “God needs me in order to accomplish His work in my community.” That’s pride. That’s a low view of God. And that’s an attitude that leads pastors down a dangerous path. An over pre-occupation with ministry communicates to our children that our relationship with “our church” is a greater priority than our relationship with them.
#3 God doesn’t ask us to sacrifice our family. Many pastors, especially church planters, have children who are in the formative years of life. Right after Cindy and I announced that we were going to plant a church back in 1997 I heard a well-known pastor exclaim, “If you have young children DO NOT plant a church!” That terrified us, but it was too late, the journey had begun and the calling was too obvious. So right then and there we decided that our kids would be better because of ministry. To be honest it was difficult. The demands of planting were high. But we worked hard to have special time with our kids, show them the benefits of being in ministry and include them in the God-moments along our ministry journey. Ministry can be a great classroom where our children have a front row seat to witness the provision and power of God. But ministry can also be a pre-occupation that causes us to put parenting on autopilot.
Self-Evaluation: Am I sacrificing my family because of my pre-occupation with ministry?