Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is Your House a Mess?

I recently heard the following story:

“My daughter Michelle is the commander of a Coast Guard Cutter. When she gave my husband Bob a tour of her ship, he was impressed by the neatness of all decks.

“However, when Bob went to Michelle's house with her, he couldn't believe the disorganization. ‘Why is everything in its place on your ship,’ he asked, ‘but your house is such a mess?’

“‘My house,’ Michelle said, ‘does not take 30-degree rolls.’”

I found the story quite humorous, but it made me wonder. How often do others notice that things are just fine in our workplace, but not at home? Things may be “in its place” at work (and elsewhere), but at home things are “a mess.” One of the saddest passages in the Bible is found in I Samuel 8:1-3:

“Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel…But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.”

Here was Samuel – a great prophet, one of the greatest men in the Bible, arguably one of the godliest men in all of history, but his sons didn’t follow after his example. Some commentators have speculated that it was at least partly due to the fact that Samuel traveled around Israel fulfilling his responsibilities as a prophet (I Sam. 7:15-16), neglecting his family in the process.

It’s a problem that everyone who works struggles with, but especially preachers because we often view our work as being done “for God” so we feel justified in pouring more of our time and effort into our work. But there is always the danger -- the temptation – that we may be neglecting things at home.

Early in my ministry, my wife used to complain, “You always have time for anybody else who comes to you with a problem, but you can’t find time for me.” There were times she was right. I felt compelled to make sure that everything was in order at “work”, but I sometimes allowed things at home to be a “mess.” I’m sure there were many times my children felt the same way. I would like to think that I’ve learned from my mistakes and have a better balance now.

My message today comes with an encouragement for all of you who work to make an assessment of your own. Are you more interested in keeping things in order at work than you are at home? May God help each of us as we strive to fulfill our God-given responsibilities to our spouses and children.

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