I finished reading the book “and the Shofar Blew” by Francine Rivers earlier this morning. The story almost brought me to tears and has brought me do a lot of self reflection today and I thought I’d share. The book is about a young family in ministry. Husband, wife and three year old son moving across country to take over pastorship of a small church. The husband is the son of a well known televangelist with years of father son issues leaving a root of rejection in this upcoming pastor. In his mind he becomes a one man show. This man begins to neglect his wife and son for the sake of building this ministry. He becomes so focused on building up his own kingdom. It was a sad thing to read. He begins to compromise. He doesn’t preach on everything because it offends some people. His wife, His friends, and a precious elder of the church continue to try to talk to him, but his pride gets in the way. Everyone who will not help him to build up this ministry he manipulates to try to remove. It’s all about numbers and the building of his kingdom. It becomes subtle but soon he’s manipulating the word of God to fit his needs and wants. In the end he’s finally restored to God, but not until he almost looses his wife, son, and has to walk away from the congregation.
We’ve all in ministry had to take moments at various times in our walk to reflect why it is we’re doing what we’re doing. Let’s face it. Sometimes ministry can be difficult and one needs to constantly reflect on why their doing what they are in life.
Many years ago I worked in a card gift shop in my hometown, and one divine day I got to talking to this woman who came in the store. Today I know she was a divine encounter and I needed to hear what she said. We talked for awhile. She’d worked in the mission field for years. In mid sentence she stopped and said something that will forever stay with me. She said something along the lines of, “I always thought if I would be in ministry my kids would somehow be taken care of, that somehow they’d make it okay. But I put the ministry before them. It wasn’t worth it.” The remorse in her voice immediately changed the conversation, but somehow I’ve thought of her often.
It can be so easy to be so focused on ministry that we loose sight of our priorities. God comes first, our spouse second, our kids third and then ministry or our jobs. It can be so easy to ignore the small pleas to go and play catch and bounce on the trampoline because someone else has called you hurting. It can get so easy to slowly get deceived and think that it’s all about us. Jesus was constantly doing things that people thought of his stature was beneath Him. He made time for the children (Mark 9:36), He hung out with people who didn’t have the best reputation because they need Him. (Matthew 9:12) He didn’t just manipulate people for what they could do for Him. He genuinely loved them.
I’m not saying that if you have kids you can’t do anything until they grow up. What I am saying is there is a balance in the kingdom. We have realize when to shut the computer, phone, or titles aside and simply be a parent.
God did not place us on this earth to build our kingdom. He called us to build His kingdom! I’m saddened today by this book because unfortunately I know similar stories happen every day. It’s made me look at my own life and again reflect where my priorities lay? I want to challenge you to do the same. Are you building God’s kingdom or your own? If people around you are trying to tell you something don’t you think you should listen? Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Yes, God’s grace is never failing. And He does have an ability to restore things that you’ve messed up in, but make sure you’re on that right path today. The alternative is too great handle. That alternative whether we realize it or not is like ripples on a pond. It goes past ourselves and affects many more people. Will you affect the people in your lives and bring them to God? Or will you lead them toward destruction?