After Tara read through my post last night, she suggested I add something about how hard it is to disciple a child unless you spend time with the child. She knows what happens when busy-ness and business get in the way of time together. And, Tara definitely would say, and I agree, that there really is no such thing as “quality time” without “quantity time.”
This took my mind to Jesus. Jesus gave us an example of how to disciple. He discipled twelve young men and a number of women. He didn’t do so by spending one hour a week with them on Sundays. He didn’t do so even by committing himself to eating at least one meal a day with them. He didn’t make sure that he attended all their sporting events. Jesus lived, ate, and worked with his disciples 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for three years.
You may be in a situation with your work where you only have an hour or two a day with your family. You may even be in a situation where you are only with your family on the weekends. If your priority is your career, I understand why you may believe this is what you have to do. But if you believe that your priorities should be God, marriage and family before any occupation, then perhaps some changes should be considered. Most Christians are quick to say that their top priorities are (1) God, (2) family, and (3) their job. But what do their lives and the investment of their time demonstrate?
What do your kids see in you and what you value if the vast majority of your time is spent centered around your job, especially if such time always takes you physically away from your family? How many times do you need to hear the song, “The Cat’s in the Cradle,” thinking about your own experiences with your dad? Even when you do have time away from work are you so tired that your value to your family is minimal? Many people think these are impossible questions because work necessarily takes one away from family, but if family is a priority, and raising up kids to have a lasting faith is a priority, then isn’t it worth asking the question whether there is some way to feed and clothe one’s family that doesn’t require as many hours as you may currently invest in your work? Do you really need to make as much money as you do? Is there a way for you to earn a living alongside your spouse and children? If not, is there a way to do so that provides more time with them regardless?
I know these are difficult questions. I’m sure some people might think – it’s easy for him to say or that’s pie in the sky thinking. I suppose my main point is that we can always ask such questions and should do so, reassessing where we are in life in accordance with the priorities established by the Word of God. All too often we let other things dictate what is true in our lives or think that we cannot make changes. Jesus taught us that the truth will set us free. The lies of the world (and the huge lie of the promise of the security of money and work) bind us. We can make changes, and we should if our lives do not reflect the glory of God, His ways and word.