by Kathy Lay
Verse of the Week: Joel 1:3--Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation. (NLT)
The woman was doing an outstanding job by all human standards. Her ministry had a ripple effect that reached thousands and many souls came to Christ as a result of her efforts. One night she slipped into a dream. Jesus came to her and said, “I want to show you something.” He took her hand and together they rose to the top of a beautiful mountain peak, more spectacular than she’d ever imagined, with a view so grand it seemed to sweep over many lifetimes. From the high vantage point, the woman could look down into the valley and see vast numbers of people. The Lord told her that those were souls she’d brought to Him.
Full of satisfaction, she thought to herself, “Oh man, this is IT! This is when Jesus will turn to me and say ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” But as he turned to her and spoke, the words she heard were more of a crushing blow: “Where among these people is your own family?”
Marybeth Whalen of Proverbs 31 Ministries shared this story at a conference I attended over two years ago to illustrate to a room full of aspiring writers that our first commitment is to our families. I still remember the impact it had on me. In fact, I remember an audible gasp from the audience at large, as if we’d all been collectively punched in the gut. Why? Because we knew if we weren't careful in how we pursued our calling, some of our loved ones might be missing from the valley too.
Gretchen Beltz shared once that being too BUSY stands for Being Under Satan's Yoke. Mm mm mm...Conviction. In my "busyness" to serve, where was my family? Was my busyness actually hindering their relationship with Christ?
But let’s get one thing straight. I mean, doesn’t God want us to reach out to others? Isn't that what taking a walk across the room is all about? Absolutely. Fulfilling the Great Commission is inherent in our calling to be Christ-followers. But as we spread our faith and create our own ripple effect, consider who should be in that very first circle or ripple. God has placed some individuals so close to the epicenter in our circle of influence, that they sometimes get overlooked, or worse, become casualties in the fall-out of our busyness.
So how about this approach? Being Under my Savior’s Yoke. Maybe I can run my to-do list through my Washing Machine (aka—the Holy Scripts, see Eph. 5:26) and whatever I can’t stamp with Jesus approval has got to go, even if it seems to be a noble or worthy cause. And whatever is left (and I’m pretty sure it will always include housework—we have to stay humble, right?), I’m making a family affair. Writing? I can show them how their lifesongs end up in my work. Being in the praise band? They can help me practice and Shane and I can encourage their interest in music. Ministry meetings? I can share my excitement with them about how God’s doing great things and pray that they catch that same excitement.
Instead of feeling neglected or even jealous, my prayer is that our families would feel included and blessed by our involvement in the Great Plan, that instead of being overcome by or even drowning in our ripples, they ride the wave and desire to start their own ripples for God.
Father, we lift up our families to you! As we strive to reach out to others, let us include them and grow them through it all, setting an example of being a faithful Christ-follower. Guard us against satan's attempts to distract us through the busyness. Keep our hearts centered on You, so that your love spills out of us onto others, especially those closest to us. In Jesus' Precious Name, Amen.
If you can picture God plunking you into a pool of people who need you, who are the first ones your waves will reach? How are those same people being influenced by what you're involved in?
Psalm 34:3--Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out. (MSG)
Deuteronomy 4:9--Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. (NIV)
Psalm 34:11--Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (NIV)
Proverbs 31:26-29--When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"(MSG)