Originally Posted by Mike Young May 2006
Recently at a church leadership conference I heard a pastor speak about the challenges of the pastorate. As Noble Warriors gains traction in the faith community, I have greater opportunity to see the significant demands that churches (people) place on their pastors. The ‘job’ of serving as pastor is broad, challenging and consuming. Many others of us who are not pastors could say the same of our jobs or careers. Work often consumes us. We come home tired, distracted and sometimes frustrated by the demands, the schedule and the problems of the day. This is simply a statement of the obvious; not a new revelation.
There was, however, revelation to follow. This pastor told us that he has recently spent some time analyzing his station in life and made some discoveries. As he sought to prioritize his time and responsibilities he asked himself “Where am I least expendable?” Ultimately, he concluded that if he were to die immediately, the church could find a new, capable leader to assume all of his responsibilities. His exploration of these concepts also reminded him of the fact that he was least expendable at home, where he was husband and father.
As an influential spiritual leader of the church, he can be replaced, but there is no satisfying substitute for him in his role as husband and daddy.
Guys, I often get this backwards. I have often thought that things would fall apart at work if I weren’t there and I placed extreme priority on my presence there at the expense of family. Sometimes, I need to be reminded of the fact that my family should have priority in my life. Now, before you write me off and say that is unrealistic and ridiculous, I do understand that you have to work or run your business in order to meet the needs of your family. That is a critical part of your role as provider. But, you and I must understand that we have to accept responsibility for our roles at home.
Your wife needs to see, know and feel that you place priority on your role as husband.
How can you communicate that to her in a way that she fully understands? You can’t get off the hook by saying that you demonstrate your love and devotion to her by providing money and things for the family. Like it or not, she needs you to relate to her personally. You have to love her in a way that she understands, not just in ways that are comfortable to you. Be bold and ask her to help you understand how you could better demonstrate your love for her. If you handle this correctly, you could learn some things that would positively impact your marriage forever.
Your children need tangible expressions of your love and concern for them.
How can you make sure they know they are a priority in your life? There is no substitute for spending time with them. There has been a debate over the years concerning quality vs. quantity time. Many men have said, “I can’t spend much time with them but I make sure it’s quality time.” Be careful! You can convince yourself that you have done a great job spending quality time with your children; but it’s not your evaluation that counts, it’s theirs. ‘Quality’ experiences can’t often be manufactured; those valuable nuggets are hidden in the ‘quantity’ investment. Can I encourage you to spend one-on-one time with each of your children on a regular basis? No one can give them Dad’s personal attention, affirmation, blessing and love but you.
Ecclesiastes 6:12 says, For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone? Guys, much of what you are concerned about in work or business will not matter when your days pass. However, the influence and impact you have on your family will last for many generations.
Make sure it’s a legacy of investing in the places where you are most valuable.