I was reading a book the other night and came across a quote that struck me to the heart and got me thinking, and subsequently blogging.
The book is Mud, Sweat, and Tears: The Autobiography of Bear Grylls. Bear Grylls is the famous adventurer most known for his hit T.V show, Man vs. Wild. It’s a family favorite in our house. Bear Grylls is definitely on my list of people I’d like to hang out with. He was talking about his upbringing and remembering his father, who was a politician in Great Britain. He said of his father, “He worked to make a difference and to better people’s lives, but his ambitions lacked the ruthless drive so common in politics, and our lives were so much richer for it. I guess his career was being a good dad.”
Amen to that. It helped remind me that history is filled with great leaders that were not great fathers. Politics, business, and sports are filled with men that did mighty things at the expense of their own families. Ministry is not except from this trend as well. Church history is also filled with men that did mighty things for the Lord, yet left family life to suffer in the wake of the success. King David was a great king, but how much did his people suffer from the familial strife that would tear apart and split the kingdom he worked so hard to maintain. I remember seeing a quote from Jullian Lennon, son of the famous Beattle Jon Lennon that sums up what I am talking about,
“He [Jon Lennon} walked out the bloody door and was never around. I’d admire him on TV- listen to his words and opinions. But for someone who was praised for peace and love and wasn’t able to show that at home… That’s hypocrisy.”
It reminds me of what Paul teaches in I Timothy 3. On discussing the qualifications for an overseer/elder Paul gives Timothy, and the church at large these instructions:
“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”
Now at this point this list looks like any good list any organization, business, or political party might draw up. But then Paul adds another important qualification with an added commentary on its importance. Paul states’
“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”
Paul is saying that those that lead the church, the Bride of Christ, an eternal organization that will forever exist, must first lead their homes well. The home is the petri dish of God’s eternal kingdom. It is the proving ground for leadership in God’s eternal organization. To state it another way, a man’s leadership in the home has more eternal purpose than his leadership of a fortune 500 company.
Nowhere in the Bible do we find God calling your business or organization a “blessing”, or a “heritage from the Lord”. Nowhere does the Lord call your vocation a “reward”, or liken it to “arrows in the hand of a warrior”. But the Lord does speak that way of a man’s children. Your family, the children in your care, not the name plate in your corner office is his reward to you. Steward that blessing well. It has eternal implications.
We live in a day and age where many are blessed to be able to pursue whatever vocation they feel they would enjoy the most. The culture tends to push us towards pursuing careers that try satisfy us for the money it brings, fame it lends, or power and influence it has. Pursuing vocations that we are good at or that bring us satisfaction are not in and of themselves wrong. In this, we enjoy something almost unprecedented in the history of the world. We should not take that for granted, thank God for that freedom and opportunity. Pursue those opportunities as they arise, but realize they are not of first importance.
When Christ returns, no matter how noble the organization or the company, He is coming after a bride, his church. A church led by men whose qualifications for leadership will not be found on the New York Stock Exchange, or in the Hall of Fame of some sports organization, or in Silicon Valley. It will be found in the home of ordinary men, living ordinary lives, with extraordinary families.