Dustin Neeley, writing for The Gospel Coalition, offers some wisdom on balancing family and ministry.
I was lying on the floor pushing Thomas the Tank Engine around his wooden track when I realized my young son had been speaking to me for the past 30 seconds, but I hadn’t listened to a word he had said. Instead, I was too preoccupied thinking about the church. Those precious moments were now gone—never to return. Sadly, I bet many other pastors can relate.
All of us know tragic stories of wives and children of pastors, church planters, and missionaries who grow up to hate the church. These stories could have been avoided, in many cases, if the leader in the home had not neglected his family.
I could offer you a moralistic, guilt-driven path toward self-improvement, marked by signs along the way exhorting, “Try harder! Do better! Quit your hobbies! Spend more time with your wives and kids!” But I’m not convinced this method would lead to true, lasting change and fruitfulness. Thankfully there is a better path, along which we’re propelled by faith in the gospel. Some of the same signs may appear, but the motivation and power for obeying their calls come from a different place—the finished work of Jesus on behalf of the frail, fallen father.