The Question: Are we excused from the Great Commission and Great Commandment because we have families?
I’m not the one who proposed it making it a synchroblog question (blame Jim – he thought of it), and I really can’t say that I’ve really kept up with the “synchroblogging” concept except for a few times. Jim pondered this recently to me in a comment adding that he “thinks this is THE trap of American suburban Christianity – the need to have our home lives and precious families secured away from ‘those people’ we need to reach out to and help.” I should add that this comment came out from this post talking about the homeless. So if people still “synchroblog” and want to, please feel free to.
In my daily Bible reading, I’m just starting 1st Kings. I’m sure that if you have read some of the Old Testament about David, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that he kind-of wasn’t the best father. Just check this verse out:
Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?”
Never disciplined him (this being his son Adonijah) at any time?? Now I know that obviously we all don’t have several wives, much less a harem (I will withhold comment) which probably means a lot less kids, but wow – NEVER?!? A little bit later, David tells Solomon this:
I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
Take courage and be a man. I wonder if he had told Solomon (or any of his other sons) that before then. Apparently at this time (which is right before he dies), he is 70 years old. Clearly David is well-known as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of Israel and certainly was following his “duties”. Trying to think back on other spiritual leaders, I’m sure there are others who in some way “lacked” when it came to being a father.
Don’t get me wrong – they served the “greater good” (not exactly the Great Commission but cmon we’re talking Old Testament), but it seems at a cost of their own family… doesn’t it? By no means (in any stretch of the imagination) am I some great leader or anything, but I’m afraid that sometimes I give more of my time to things when I should be spending it with my own family instead.
Alright – back to the question at-hand. I take the question as this – are we excused from our “duties” as a Christian? I don’t think so, but only when it doesn’t conflict with our duties as a parent. We can’t blindly ignore what we are called to do. I know that sometimes it’s really a lot harder though.
Recently my wife was sick (flu) and had to stay at home for church so I had the 3 little ones. I wasn’t sure if I would be needed to do one of the things I do (media) – but it turns out I did. No issue really with that – but since we do Sunday gathering in a movie theatre we have to pack everything up – and that is the issue since at that same time I have to get the kids from the other people who volunteer for the kids program. Well, a great man (also named Chris – who’d have thought?) gladly was able to break down 90% of the media gear for me so it wasn’t an issue.
Then the recent interest in me for serving the homeless. My wife is supportive of this – and we’ve even talked about her ideas and interest in trying to get the kids involved in some way – like making care packages of some sort.
From discussing this in our small group a few times recently, I’ve clearly heard the statement from others that with everything in our lives, God is the real owner – we are just charged with managing it. Our lives, our kids, our finances, our house, our job, everything. But in a marriage there’s two – and I think that we both are called to have a part when it comes to our family. I know that a lot of times I don’t do the best job of that and sure do fail a whole lot (meaning apologies a lot), but I just keep on trying. A lot of times it seems to be a really big and long-running juggling act sometimes too. I’ve commented to some that I think you really have to be “flexible” but I’m not sure if that word really illustrates what I am trying to say really right. Sometimes you have to shift gears and do things differently though, don’t you?