April 17, 2013 - Radical Hope

We labor diligently, especially if it’s work to which God has called us.

But in the process, if we hurt those who are most important to us, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look.

It isn’t a matter of misbehaving or doing something inappropriate with our time—it may just be that we aren’t prioritizing. Perhaps though, there is something deeper.

It has been said that if you want something done right, find a worker that’s too busy to do it, and turn it over to him.

Man has the innate tendency to work hard, be successful, and get things done. The result? When opportunities arise—opportunities to do something for the Lord, it is difficult if not impossible to turn our backs on them.

Not every opportunity must be pursued, especially if it cuts even deeper into family time. But how should we determine which tasks to accept and which to decline when all of them are good?

In Luke chapter 14:26-27, Jesus states;

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

This would seem to imply that we shouldn’t care if we are leaving our families behind, especially when in verse 33, Jesus goes on to say;

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

But if we were to truly turn our backs on everyone, Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:25 would make no sense when he states;

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.

Again, in John 19:26-27 documents Christ’s words as He was hanging on the cross, dying;

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

If we are to abandon our families, would Christ have made that connection between the disciple and his mother. It was out of love for them both that He said it, and it reveals His character and His heart. He expects and demands our devotion and dedication, even to the point of turning our backs on the things we love.

Yes, it is critical for us to be fully dedicated to what the Lord has called us to do. We are to leave our family members behind at times as we carry out His work. We are to follow Him and not the pursuit of our own worldly desires.

We are to radically abandon what this planet tells us is important and worthwhile, and be obedient to His Word instead. That may require us leaving the stuff to which we are attached, or our comfort zones—and go.

It may mean that we need to sequester ourselves for a season to get the work done and then get back to our families, depending on what the Lord has called us to.

But one thing is certain—God expected men to positively impact their wives, children, grandchildren and others. It is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, nor is it to be passed to someone else.

As I move forward in my activities, I will do my best to spend as much time with my family as I can. I have a new resolve to do so. I want them to miss me when I’m in Africa, and I want them to want me when I’m home.