Some Sunday mornings, our family wakes up and it is just the perfect for a family outing. Since my family is supposed to be my first "ministry," isn't time with them a substitute for church on Sunday?
Well, you are partly right — your family is your first ministry. If every parent believed this, we would have fewer problems in our world. I caution you, however, not to take your "ministry" lightly. Being the father, you are the authority in your home. This responsibility is not license to rule with an iron fist, but an admonition to be the spiritual leader of your home.
Any vibrant ministry needs to be focused first and foremost on Jesus Christ. Next, a ministry has three distinct, but inseparable functions: it meets physical needs; it leads people to Jesus; and it helps people to grow in their faith in Jesus (John 6:1, Matthew 28:19-20). If your ministry fails in one of these areas, it fails in all three.
So what are your plans for Sunday? Do you lead your family in prayer, Bible study, and worship? Do you minister to others' needs? Are you leading your children and others to faith in Jesus Christ? It is very difficult to do these things without the support of the body of Christ in a Bible-believing, Christ-honoring church. For that reason we should not forsake the "assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25). There is simply no substitute for corporate worship.
There is nothing wrong with an occasional outing with your family. Vacations can be a wonderful opportunity to grow with your family and teach your children. Please, though, don't fall into the trap of placing your family before God (Exodus 20:3). You will love your family best if you love God first.
My husband is a godly man and our family is financially blessed. He has worked hard, while I have stayed at home with our two children, ages 15 and 11. My husband now thinks that since our children are older, that I should go back to work to pay off our home and be "set for life" in five years. I am willing to sacrifice for my family, but would it sacrifice my family?
Parental supervision and guidance early in a child's life is not only important, it's a matter of primary importance. During life's first years we depend upon our parents for everything. Some parents believe that because their children have achieved physical independence their job is complete. On the contrary, the hard part has just begun.
Providing for a baby's physical needs can be exhausting, but it is simple. Feed the baby, change the baby, love the baby (most important), and put the baby to sleep. Your children have grown beyond that stage, but their needs are infinitely more complex. They are now dealing with puberty, and their bodies and emotions are growing much quicker than their wisdom. Now, more than ever, they need your undivided attention.
In recent years there has been a lot of attention on latchkey kids, children who are home alone until their parents get home from work. They have several unsupervised hours to experiment with everything from drugs to sex, and beyond. You may have good kids, but don't trust them beyond their years (Proverbs 22:15).
Besides, your family appears to have a successful plan. You have prospered with your husband working and you staying at home. It may take 10 years, rather than five, to be "set for life." Set your sights much higher. Look beyond set for "life" and be set for "eternity" (Romans 8:18).
How can I practically impart God's wisdom to my children?
Well, God has given us a book of wisdom. It is the Book of Proverbs. And in our family, we read the Book of Proverbs at the breakfast table most every morning — especially when our grandchildren are present. We encouraged our children and now encourage our grandchildren to pick a proverb (they take turns picking a proverb), and then we discuss that proverb. Since there are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs, there is always one for each day of the month. We try to choose the chapter that corresponds with the day of the week. That has become a great time to teach the Bible and build character.
Questions and answers taken from Adrian Rogers' weekly newspaper column. Used by permission. © 2001, The Commercial Appeal.