In today’s Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, the morning reading touched on the tendency of some men to withhold their finances from the work of God, in order that they may take care of their families.
You can read the entire devotional here (and I recommend you do): BibleGateway.com – Morning and Evening
It starts as such [emphasis mine]:
Churlish souls stint their contributions to the ministry and missionary operations, and call such saving good economy; little do they dream that they are thus impoverishing themselves. Their excuse is that they must care for their own families, and they forget that to neglect the house of God is the sure way to bring ruin upon their own houses.
But as I was reading I was struck that some Christians withhold more than just their finances, employing the same excuse…
Serve the Lord
The Bible is replete with commands to serve the Lord (Romans 12:11, Psalm 2:11), and I think most Christians want to serve the lord. But one of the main
excuses reasons I have heard for why people aren’t more active is that they are “taking care of their family.” Warnings abound for Christian men to avoid sacrificing their family on the altar of ministry — let us be careful not to swing the pendulum so far that we do the opposite — avoid serving the Lord for the sake of family.
Is it possible that men and women are not as committed to evangelism, missions, and attending Sunday School (or even the weekly gathering) or small groups at the local church as they ought to be? You tell me your wife won’t “let you” go evangelize, why haven’t you led her, dear brother, to see her need to die to self for the sake of the gospel?
Do you have a difficult teenager? What makes you believe that avoiding service to the church of Christ is the solution to your teenager’s issues?
Have a special needs child? A sick bride? A demanding job? — Join the club. You are not alone. Other Christians have similar difficulties and are there to help you serve AND help you take good and proper care of your family.
The Lord Provides
I urge you to strongly consider that we need to more earnestly trust the Lord Jesus Christ to provide for us as we serve him with gladness. Too many people wait for the means to do what we’ve already been called to do, rather than endeavor to fulfill His commands and trust that God will supply in due time.
More from Spurgeon’s devotional for today:
Men trust good stewards with larger and larger sums, and so it frequently is with the Lord; he gives by cartloads to those who give by bushels…Selfishness looks first at home, but godliness seeks first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, yet in the long run selfishness is loss, and godliness is great gain.
Trust the Lord to give you from His plenty as you do His work. Search yourself diligently to see if there be any fault in you, and ask the Lord to reveal to you where you are withholding from His work and making excuses. He is good and faithful to supply your every need!
A final note for you to honestly consider. Many people who are “too busy” to serve the Lord would do well to take an inventory of how they are actually spending time throughout the week. What I suspect is that in some cases, men could forgo watching a sports match on tv, or spend a little less time streaming movies or video games. Some ladies could cut out some of their time on social media or watching tv and would find that they can serve the Lord with that time.
Taking care of your family is not your reason for avoiding service to the lord if you are spending too much time in trivial recreations. Each of us needs time to relax, yes, but be honest. Do you need as much time as you spend? If you prioritized serving Christ first in your life and included taking proper care of your family in that activity, which of your perceived needs would you have to give up? And why are you so unwilling to do so?
Luke 9:23-24 English Standard Version
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
Note: It is certainly possible for a person to avoid family responsibilities for the sake of ministry opportunities and do much harm to his or her family, as well. I am in no way implying that we ought to accept every ministry that comes across our desk, nor that every time we choose to take care of family we are avoiding serving the Lord. This must be evaluated by each individual as he or she stands before his or her lord and with the help of his or her local church.
Maybe this post isn’t about your situation but is much needed by another of the brethren.
A good post brother. It seems like in all of our business the first thing some families sacrifice is gathering with the church.