For the first time in this study (we are on day 38!), I thought that Blackaby pulled some of his punches. It wasn’t that he didn’t get his message across, he did. But he went about it very diplomatically. Once your hear the topic, you can probably figure out why… but still, I was surprised.
Today, Blackaby discussed the cost of obedience on a person’s family.
He gave two examples: 1) himself missing large parts of his five children’s upbringing because of his mission work, and the burden that placed on his wife; and 2) a gentleman by the name of Hudson Taylor who left for the Chinese mission field (1900s), knowing that he would never see his widow mother again.
His point was of course that being obedient to God has to be a higher priority than your affection for your family.
The following passage spoke to me:
I have heard many Christians say, “I really think God is calling me to serve Him, but after all, my children need me. I can’t put my family through that.” Your children certainly need your care, but do you suppose that if you obediently responded to God’s activity, He would provide for your children?
I feel like Blackaby pulled his punches in this lesson because, on other topics, Blackaby would have taken the next step and pointed out in a convicting way that if you don’t chose God, you are making the wrong decision. Instead, he decided to leave the family vs. God issue a little more open-ended.
I guess I was just a little surprised.
Back to the lesson. The above passage spoke to me because in some ways Aja and I have felt constrained by our family. I know that sounds horrible. But it is the truth. I never understood (or cared to understand) what Paul meant by it is better to stay single, until recently. A family is a commitment, and a commitment that takes up a lot of time. So much of this seems so blasphemous to even write down, but let me explain.
Say I felt “called” to move into the third ward here in Houston. If I was single, I would just go, maybe talking to my parents on the way out the door. But I’m not single. So I look at the safety statistics, I worry about my kids friends, I look at schools, I look at the cost of private schools, I talk with Aja, we listen to our parents concerns, we weigh the pros and cons, and then we make a decision. As you can see… a lot more steps than if I were single.
Now I am not saying anything about my family. Actually I am amazingly blessed with a wife that is a missionaly minded (if not more so than I), so there wouldn’t be a lot of convincing necessary, but you get my point. A family can complicate things.
I love my family deeply, and I would not trade them for the world. And there-in lies the potential problem. I would do anything for them… and at times, I am afraid that includes walking away from a calling from God because of the potential impact that it would have on their lives.
So today’s lesson has strengthened my resolve to put God first. I pray that I am never called in a way that I must chose between Aja and the kids on the one hand, and God on the other. But if I am, I pray I have the strength to chose God.
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