On June 26 I retired after being pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Doylestown for 35 years. I’ve taken some time to look back at the main lessons God has taught me during that time. Here’s one:
As I look back on my life I now have a perspective that I didn’t have many years ago. My children are grown, most of them married and on their own. My impact on their life has largely been made. I thank God that He convicted me at the start of my marriage of the importance of making my family my number one congregation. Others have come and gone but my family is still my family. There is no one I have had more influence on or ever will have more influence on than my children and my wife.
Jesus’ top priority while on earth was His ‘family’ of disciples, not the crowds and not new programs and projects. He put them and their needs first, often withdrawing from the crowds or sending people away to spend time with His disciples. His pattern is ours to follow today. There is no one you will reproduce yourself in more completely than your children. And you WILL reproduce yourself in them, for good or for bad. You can’t abdicate; you will totally influence their lives. The only question is what the influence will be, not if you will have influence. Children are like soft clay which you are forming and molding into whatever image you choose. Even if you are too busy to be with them much, that forms an image of rejection and unimportance in them. You are forming them and will form them more than anyone else.
It’s it a shame that PK’s and MK’s often have a reputation for rebellion and disobedience. Whose fault is that? God Himself says that if we can’t manage our families then we can’t manage His church. Your children need you more than your church or your job. It’s too bad we get our ego so wrapped up in our service for God and our ‘success’ in the eyes of others that we miss what is most important. God gave us our children to disciple for Him. Nothing is more important! He will never lead us to neglect our children for the sake of other things. They are precious to Him and He entrusts them to us. He will never give us too much to do so that we don’t have time for them. That comes from wrong priorities in our own lives.
My children are grown and mostly gone, and one of my greatest joys in life is watching them serve the Lord and follow Him. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4). Each one of them has chosen to stay faithful to God and serve Him wholeheartedly. I take great pleasure in that, although I don’t take credit for it. That is between them and God and there are too many factors involved for me to think I did that. I can rest in the fact that, as far as I was able at the time, I did my best to love them and teach them about God. I certainly wasn’t perfect, and I did have responsibilities that demanded time and attention, but I always knew they were my number one priority and I greatly enjoyed raising them for the Lord. God gets the credit for how they turned out. I am thankful I don’t have to live with too many regrets. As they say, no one on their death bed wishes they would have spent more time at work! Make sure this is right in your life now.
1 Tim 3:4-5 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)
Titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
I’m sure you would agree and say your family is your number 1 priority, but what if you had to prove it? What hard proof can you present that shows you put your children before your work?
If your children would be old enough to talk (and perhaps they are) would they say that they know they come before your work?
Pray for each one individually, bringing their needs, their weaknesses and their futures before the Lord in prayer.
INDIA UPDATE: Pastor Moses has been distributing pens, milk and mosquito nets to slum families. Many of these poor Dalit people are believers, and others come to the Lord through the love being shown them by other Christians. It is also a great way to help and encourage believers, as Jesus commands us to do (Matthew 25:41-45; Proverbs 29:7; 31:8-9).
PRAY FOR the poor people in India, and that the love of Christians would show them Jesus’ love so they can turn to Him for salvation.
Please keep praying for the money for the new book ($7,000) and for our trip and conferences in January ($16,000). Pray, too, for Pastor Moses as he makes plans in India and for me as I work on the lessons and materials to teach and share.
Christian Training Organization