My family’s schedule is usually packed with activities on top of obligations. My mom works twelve hours a day six times a week, while my sister and I have eight-to-five corporate jobs from Mondays to Fridays.
My day normally starts at 5:30 in the morning, and I get home at around 9:30 or 10 in the evening because of non-negotiable discipleship duties. If the semester is on-going, I get home at around 12 midnight. Every time I get home, my mom is already asleep because she needs to wake up at 4 A.M. the next day.
On Saturdays, after her work, my mom meets up with a friend for Bible study, while I am out of home early for coaching duties. My sister sometimes comes with me to the tennis court but most Saturdays, she is either in the gym or hanging out with her friends.
We only get to bond as a family every Sunday during worship service and we only get to talk a bit over rare or spontaneous dinner dates. Our busy-ness can indeed make us more susceptible in ignoring intentionality in terms of relating with one another.
Personally I do not think I have anything to complain to God about this ‘busy-ness’. I am already beyond satisfied of our family bonding every time we worship the Lord together and pray together. I am also already beyond thankful that we are being consistently ministered to by our loving mentors who we also consider as family. Plus, I cherish the times when we are able to minister to or share the gospel to other people even though we are on separate small groups. Even though sometimes I still wish I can spend more time with them, I am already thankful for the many chances that I get to serve God with them and get to tell them how much I love them.
This is why when friends ask me, “Don’t you think you are too busy for ministry that you forget to spend time with your family?”, my answer is “Ministry is family and family is ministry”. For me, it goes hand in hand. I cannot just choose one and neglect the other.
I love my family, but I love God more. I love my family, but God loves them more.
- God expects me to treat my family with respect and care (Exodus 20:12, 1 Timothy 5:8), but God also expects me to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) because He promised that He will take the full responsibility of meeting all my needs including the needs of my family.
- God tells me to watch the way I live so I can be an effective witness for Christ to my family (2 Corinthians 5:20), but God also tells me that I should not idolize them or keep them in clenched fists (Matthew 10:37).
God already paved the way for my family to know and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour (Acts 16:31). And even though we are all so far from perfection, Jesus remains faithful in our lives – even in our childish tantrums, petty arguments and impatience towards one another.
Recently, my sister and I planned a surprise bonding time with our mom for her birthday. However, her birthday lands on a Wednesday. Half of me wants to cancel all five ministry appointments I have on that day so that I can be able to spend time with my family over a birthday dinner. But the other half of me wanted to prioritize the set schedule and go find another schedule for the said surprise. But if the former wins, I will ran over one ministry appointment on Saturday. I had again one of those internal battles.
Who do I prioritize: family or ministry? We can take a look at Ephesians 5:15-16.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil”.
The key is not trying to balance busy-ness and family time; but aligning them in a way that is wise thus pleasing and honorable to the Lord.
I decided to stick to my ministry appointments on Wednesday, claiming God’s promise in Matthew 6:33. Then, I slightly adjusted one appointment on Saturday to make time for my family. By God’s grace, it all worked out well. He indeed took care of everything.
Come rest day, we sang songs of praise, prayed for each other, relied on God’s word, and shared the gospel to friends and strangers together as a family with our family. All glory to God!☺