One of the most common conversations I have with people is the discussion of how to balance a family’s busyness with serving and being involved in the church. If we’re honest, it’s an issue for most of us. I used to say it was worse for those with young families, but as Kim and I now have a household of teens, I am seeing the activities don’t decrease with age, it’s just a different kind of busy.
This morning I read a blog from the Gospel Coalition website that had some good thoughts for parents to consider. It primarily focused in the aspect of serving in the church but the same thing can be applied to other areas of our involvement in the church. I’m sure it resonated because it jibed with the what I’ve seen and the advice I believe we need to hear.
Here’s what it said…
“When we look at Scripture, being deeply connected and serving a church body is both less and also infinitely more than what our modern day ideas of “serving” the church often resemble."
Paul gives us an idea in the book of Titus, as women are called to “teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3-5).
From a single woman to a grandmother, different stages of life will certainly mean that Paul’s exhortation will be uniquely walked out as we love others, point them to Christ, and serve one another. However, my concern is that in our frantic race for a perfectly lovely and carefully crafted childhood, we opt out and grab the “busy season” card over and over as the years fly by. And our “busy season” turns into a lifetime.
Reducing our definition and understanding of serving to a programatic duty box to check off, and one that divorces serving the body of Christ from our daily lives, deprives our children of the beautiful lesson of what serving each other truly means. How valuable would it be for a toddler to watch her mom regularly open her home to younger mothers and college students, or host a weekly community group that fellowships, prays, and eats together? Think of those precious lessons they would learn about serving.
Scripture tells us that we are to teach our children the Word of God as we are sitting in our house, when we are walking by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise (Deut. 6:7). When we order our lives in such a fashion that our children’s comfort and delight becomes the life focus of a family, how then do we teach those children how they are to “take up their cross daily”? Where do they see the joy in serving others? How will they watch the “one another’s” in Scripture being fleshed out in daily living?” (Click here for the entire article).
Good thoughts. In a nutshell, Yes, there are seasons of life and each one has challenges. But we have to be careful that those “busy seasons don’t stretch on and become a lifetime”. We have to learn how to integrate our church family into our own family for our kids to see our faith lived out. We send the wrong message when our time with “church folks” is set against our times as a family. The truth is the Body of Christ IS our family too. Do we all need down time, family vacations, and quiet evenings, absolutely.
But my children also need to see men and women in our home, sitting at the table eating with us as naturally as they see their grandmother up the street walk through the doors. This includes godly men and women to hear wisdom from to newer Christians who are sorting things out as well as broken people who are trying to “figure things” out but are loved because they are family. They need to see us doing chores in the house as well as serving along side others church family members because this is what a life well lived is about. They need to see that interacting and living day to day life with others in the Body of Christ is not just a Sunday thing. It’s an all of life thing. The reality is, although I forget it all the time (and I’m a paid Christian) that the Body of Christ is a source of grace and encouragement to me and my family. When I, when remove ourselves from being together with them, whether in service or simply eating a meal, I miss out on something that is there for me and my family’s good.
Summer’s coming. Our schedules shift into another gear. Let's all be intentional about spending time this summer with “all” our family.