SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2012.
SUCCESS IN MINISTRY VS FAILURE AT HOME
‘He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s Church?’ (I Tim. 3:4-5)
CHRISTIAN workers sometimes make the mistake of being so involved in their work that they neglect their families, especially firm discipline towards their children. Spiritual leadership, however, must begin at home.
Apostle Paul is concerned about ministers who manage the household of God. They should be a glowing example to the flock on how a home should be run under God. He was aware: ‘no other success compensates for failure in the home’.
Today, ministers’ time are taken by day-to-day administration of the Church. They attend meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences to the point that their families hardly get proper attention from them. A speaker once said that if a minister were away from home every evening, it would not make any difference to his children whether he was at church or at a bar. Time spent with family is necessary for a strong and fulfilling home life. How can time be reserved for the family?
A popular religious writer tells how he set aside time for his family. Each year, he would take a new appointment calendar and write down each family member’s birthday, his wedding anniversary and family vacation time. Later in the year, if someone called about a project or a meeting on one of those dates, he would reply by saying that he already had a commitment.
After he started that practice, he was invited to participate in a big meeting on his child’s birthday, and he said no. The caller asked why he could not come, since it was a big convention and his witness might reach many people. The writer was a little embarrassed to say that it was his daughter’s birthday and that he was the only daddy his daughter had. The man was quiet on the other end of the line for a few seconds, and then he replied, “I wish I could do that”. The writer concluded, “I may not make as many speeches, attend as many meetings, or write as many books for Christ. But I hope I will at least have lived for Him in my own home.”
However, Jesus said: ‘if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple’ Lk. 14v26. By this, Jesus is not calling for total abandonment of responsibilities to our homes but is calling upon ministers to make him number one in their lives. He should be the hub of our lives and ministries around whom other priorities rotate. If and when we put Him first, other things would fall into order.
Ministers should also pay attention to the discipline of their children. As a minister, how often do you discipline your children in this perverse generation? A minister should know that the work of disciplining family members should not be delegated as it is often said in Law: ‘Delegatus non potest delegare’. Do not entrust the discipline of children to your wife only. Only very few women are good at disciplining their children and wards. Remember, children tend to fear their fathers more.
According to Rt. Rev. David Kayode Bello of the Diocese of Otukpo: ‘an indulgent father ruins his children now and in the future’. We have no choice as ministers but ensure that our children are disciplined especially when they err. It is no longer news that some of ministers’ children have deviated and fallen spiritually. Shamefully though, some are involved in armed robbery, cultism, prostitution, impersonation, etc.
I think the tragedy in the household of Eli and Samuel should be a warning to ministers. (I Sam 2:12-17, 22, 25; I Sam. 4:14-18) If Eli and Samuel had done their homework during their pastoral ministry, such calamity may not have befallen them. Their children were rejected by God and also by men. Such can happen to anybody but Paul’s admonition is for our good that we who manage God’s church should be in position to manage well our families and have our children respect God and obey Him.
Therefore, as a minister, remember not to neglect your family. You need them and I am sure they need you too.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.