was thinking about the responsibilities of a minister and it occurred
to me to ask the question, "How much does a minister need
to give of himself to his ministry?" What I am about
to say is not terribly popular in a lot of churches, but I think
it is true, nonetheless.
got to thinking about a few Scriptures such as Acts 20:28 which
says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock..." Notice that it says first to take heed unto
yourselves first, then worry about the flock. We must understand
that if we do not take care of ourselves (spiritually, physically,
emotionally) we can't minister from a point of strength.
We minister from a point of weakness.
Philippians 2:25-30, Paul speaks of a minister named Epaphroditus,
who was "nigh unto death" from the work of the ministry.
He almost worked himself to death, literally. When I was
in Bible college, I heard instructors warning us to "take
heed" to ourselves, and to be careful not to work ourselves
"nigh unto death". But, how much is too much?
Where should the line be drawn?
simple terms let me just say this...God first, then family, then
the ministry. Your personal relationship with Jesus is first
and foremost important. The problem is that people sometimes
tend to mix relationship with God and ministerial duty.
In fact, they are separate. Your first responsibility is
to your own personal walk with God. In other words, your
prayer life, your personal devotion time, study of the Word, personal
praise and worship time, etc.
your personal time with the Lord that empowers you to take on
life's other challenges, duties, and responsibilities. Those
responsibilities include your responsibility to your family, your
job, your ministry. You should have personal worship time
on top of what you do in church. You should have personal
Bible study time that has absolutely nothing to do with a sermon
or exhortation you are working on. These things are what
build you as a believer.
comes your family. Too many churches ask (perhaps not in
so many words) their people to sacrifice their family life for
the work of the ministry. I've seen ministers put their
kids up in boarding schools, hire nannies, etc. just to give themselves
more time to devote to their ministry. Consequently, we
have the reputation of "Preacher's kids" too often becoming
rebellious backsliders. It's because priorities have been
mixed up. Divorce is almost as prevalent among ministers
as it is in the world. This ought not be so!
believe that Godly families are as important, if not more important,
than "successful" churches. The world needs to
see what a Godly family is, more than they need to see your Easter
Cantata or Christmas play! We don't need more "programs"
in our churches. We need people to walk in the power, love,
and blessing that God has provided for us. We need Godly
in this list is your responsibility to your church. Pastors,
if you are reading this, do not allow your people to become so
overwhelmed by ministerial work that they lose sight of what is
truly important. Praise and Worship Leaders, the same goes
for you. Once a week rehearsals should be more than enough
to take care of your music ministry's needs, if they are conducted
properly and efficiently.
once heard of a church who encouraged one of their employees to
leave his "ungodly" wife because she wanted her husband
home more often. I knew of a church that required their
worship team to make three services, two two-hour rehearsals,
and one prayer meeting a week. That's too much!
our church, our Pastor is so adamant about having a proper family
life that we don't have a Sunday night service. He encourages
us to spend Sunday nights with our families. And let me
tell you, we have some of the most awesome families I've ever
seen! (Yes, even the teenagers!)
face it...ministry is oftentimes stressful. And sometimes
we get so caught up with the work that we forget to stop and smell
the roses. We forget to take the time for the things that
make life worth living. We neglect ourselves, our families,
our friends...all in the name of Christ! Let's not give
God a bad name by letting him take the blame for our own short-sightedness.
Take some time out for yourself and your family. That's
what's really important anyway! Don't worry, the work will
still be there when you get back! God bless!