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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Question:
clear.gif - 808 Bytes I recently heard someone say that in the pastor's home the ministry comes first before his wife and family. He is to be consumed with the ministry; it is his first priority, and his wife should accept that. What are your thoughts on this?


Response:
You may click on verses to reveal pop-up Scripture

clear.gif - 808 Bytes Here are my thoughts on this subject.

1. If the ministry was always the priority the husband would never be at home, because there is ALWAYS something else to do: someone to counsel, something to study, outreach to be done, etc.

2. If a man loses his family then he doesn't have any ministry. Thus, what allows us to stay in the ministry ought to take precedence over the ministry itself

3. A man is commanded to love his wife like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph 5:25). The man is not commanded to love his church or ministry like that. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27), but loving God means that we keep His commandments (John 14;15), including the one about loving your wife

4. A man is to dwell with his wife according to knowledge (I Peter 3:7). Thus, he is to spend time with her (dwell), and base his relationship with her on his understanding of her needs. 5. If a man doesn't provide for his household he is worse than an infidel (I Tim 5:8). While this is primarily a financial passage, there are certainly emotional and time-related things that a man must provide for his household as well.

6. A pastor is to rule his family (I Tim 3:4). You can't rule something that you don't spend time with. In fact, his leadership in the family takes priority over his leadership in the church because his leadership in the home determines whether he will be able to lead the church.

7. Paul said that being married would limit a man's ministry. I Cor 7:32-33 says, "But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." When a man is married he has to sacrifice some of his ministry so that he can sacrificially care for his wife. Thus, if a man wants to have absolutely no distractions from ministry and devote himself to it with 100% of his time, then he shouldn't get married in the first place.

8. There are times when ministry has to supersede family. Paul also writes in the same chapter, "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;" (I Cor 7:29-30). This doesn't mean abandonment by any stretch of the imagination, for that would violate the principles of "loving" and "dwelling" and "knowing". We are allowed to be married, to weep, rejoice, and buy, but there are times when our relationship with the Lord requires us to invest time in His work that takes time away from family, emotions, and possessions.

9. Believers are to submit one to another (Eph 5:21). This means that wives are to submit to their husbands (Eph 5:22). They do this through submission (Col 3:18) and reverence (Eph 5:30). However, it also means that husbands are to submit to their wives as well (Eph 5:21). They do this through loving (Eph 5:25, 29).

10. The Lord always comes first. What He wants takes priority over everything. Jesus said, " He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matt 10:37). He also said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). It is interesting to note that the man who says that his work for the Lord has to take priority over his family also needs to say that it takes priority over his own life. Most don't say that.

11. Sometimes God calls us to do ministry that limits our time with family on a temporary basis. However, since the Lord requires a man to take care of his family, love his family, keep his marriage together, and raise godly children, I do not believe that He will call us to do things that would jeopardize our ability to fulfill His calling to our family. I have said many times something to this effect: "If I lose my family because of my work in the ministry, I was doing ministry work that God never called me to do."

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By
Pastor Dr. Mark Montgomery
Email: Ask the Pastor




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1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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