Tuesday, May 02, 2006

1 Tim. 3:5 For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?

This verse is from a passage that details the standards for elders in God’s church. I review it often because it reminds me not to neglect my responsibilities at home. It doesn’t matter how well I take care of God’s church if I fail to manage my own household. Failure at home disqualifies me from shepherding God’s people. This makes perfect sense! If I cannot love, serve and nurture the three people who live with me, how I am going to minister to God’s people? All ministry begins at home and our homes are the training ground for ministry. This is God’s design.

Folks, this principle is not just for elders but every Christian. Our effectiveness in ministering to others will be largely determined by our faithfulness at home. If we fail to love our husbands, wives and children, can we really love those outside our families? If we neglect the development of healthy relationships at home isn’t it foolish to assume that we will be able to do so with other people? If we neglect to nurture and disciple our families do we have the credibility to teach others?

I recognize that learning to manage our homes is a life long process. None of us have it all together. But are we cooperating with the Holy Spirit? Are we becoming “Doers of the Word” and not “Hearers only?”

Before any of us contemplate becoming involved in ministry to others we need to ask ourselves this all important question: Am I managing my responsibilities at home in such a way that God is glorified and my family is edified? I challenge you to ask you spouse and children that same question. Most importantly, ask your Lord.

16 years ago, I resigned from the pastorate to care for my wife Melinda who was seriously ill. I resigned because of 1 Timothy 3:5. I found it impossible to properly care for her needs, raise my son and meet the demands of shepherding a church. I continued to serve God’s people, but in less demanding ways. I thank God I made that decision and I’m certain I was in the center of His perfect will.

After Melinda passed away, the Lord reopened the doors to the pastorate. The church that called me did so not because of my education or abilities but because of my faithfulness at home. I give God all the credit for my testimony. I would not have been faithful apart from His enabling grace. I was tempted to give up many times but I thank God His power was perfected in my weakness.

The Lord knows that I am not trying to discourage any of you from ministering to others! There’s so much ministry that needs to be done! But the Bible teaches that ministry begins at home. Be faithful at home and God will expand your ministry in His time.

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