There was a time in my adult life when I felt like two different
men. There was the man who went to work to provide for his growing
family and who dealt with the pressures and responsibilities there.
And there was the man who spent time with his family but also
wanted to write and attend Seminary and enter "ministry". It seemed
to me that these two men were on two different tracks.
As I considered these aspects of my life I unconsciously put
these two on a flat line and thus framed my internal discussion in
terms of pure give and take. "In order to become better at my job
by X amount I need to take X amount from my personal
Unfortunately, looking at life this way caused me to always be
in tension between the two. I felt like my time in my given career
was keeping me from serving the Lord in the "ministry". There were
also times in which I felt the needs of family life kept me from
being who I wanted to be in business. No matter which way I applied
myself, I was left feeling unsatisfied.
Fortunately, through the scriptures, godly friends around me and
thinkers like Martin Luther, I began to ask the question, is this a
true representation of reality? Are these two aspects of our lives
to be diametrically opposed to each other? It often seems so since
time at work is often time away from the family and closing a
business deal has little to do with watching a child's softball
game. However,if the picture above were really true, then improving
our business dealings would never enrich our family life and one's
personal goals would never affect business. That simply isn't the
So with a great sigh of relief I began to revise my
understanding of the working man's reality. Instead of trying to
find balance between two competing agendas I was in actuality, at
some level, trying to find completion in two complimentary
A Better Image
Acknowledging that there is some give and take, but also
recognizing that both aspects of my life contribute to who I am I
began to see the following is a better image of the two men.
So instead of two separate men duking it out in my soul for my
limited time, I instead have two windows in which to see the full
picture of myself as a man. Rather than robbing one to pay the
other my true goal should be to bring both to the fullness of what
they can be. I cannot do less than my best at work and then go on
in my personal time and "serve the Lord." Neither can I spend all
my time at work to "support the family" but then ignore any time
with the family I'm supporting, God and fellow Christians. Either
approach will stunt the growth of the true man.
The scripture makes it very clear that all aspects of our lives,
whether they are usually considered ministry or not, are to fall
subject to the Lord. How can I but do my work with diligence and
excellence if every thing I do represents my Lord who gave his life
for me? How can I not spend time with the one who gave so much for
me? How can I not spend time with those he has given me to
nuture, love and protect?
So rather than seeing my job as something to endure until I can
enter "the ministry" the job becomes an aspect of ministry itself.
I'm not biding my time, but I am currently engaged in active
ministry, by running my business, by loving my family, by
supporting my friends.
Maybe the Lord will one day place me into what is typically
considered "full-time ministry". If he does, nothing will really
change, because I already am.
And if you are a christian, so are you.