Many years ago, I met a man who was having difficulties at home. His family was disjointed in opinions, needs, and direction for their lives. He spent most of his time putting out fires and filling the wants of some very needy family members. After several instances of pouting, crying, and just plain self-focus, it became very clear what the dynamics of his family were. In the course of a conversation, the man expressed to me that his goal in life was to keep his wife and child happy. It was all he wanted to do. It was the reason for his life. This goal kept him incredibly busy on a never-ending journey from morning ‘til night each and every day of his life.
As I observed the family in action, it became very clear that the pattern he had set was joyfully embraced by those involved. His wife and child were very needy and continually looked to him to fulfill the need, whatever it might be. Yes, there were legitimate needs, but whims and personal desires became gods to be served. His days were quite involved in finding ways to bring comfort rather than taking the time to figure out with his family a more reasonable way to function.
The saddest part of the whole situation was the fact that the man had been called to a faith ministry. For several years, he walked in his calling. As the Lord was building his faith through trials and difficult circumstances, his wife grew increasingly alarmed and uncomfortable. What changed the direction in his life and caused him to abandon his calling began with her statement, “I never want to walk in a faith ministry again.” So began the dissolution of an outreach that was touching many people.
Men, your job is not to find ways to keep your family happy. Your job is to provide an atmosphere that allows them to become everything they can be in Christ. Sometimes that will mean hardships and journeys far from their comfort zones. It may require you to stand by, dig yourself in with the Lord, and watch them squirm while He is dealing with their selfishness. It’s called real love. Will you walk in it?
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