I HAD NO IDEA  how difficult writing articles were until I tried it. And now I can say from firsthand experience that it is very hard. Actually, writing articles, proofreading text, typing hymns, editing chords, choosing graphics, and arranging everything on the computer are not what make this undertaking difficult—in fact, I find the process strangely therapeutic. What is difficult, however, is the screaming mayhem in my house caused entirely by my 5 year old and 3 year old daughters while I trying to work. When my eldest daughter is screaming at the top of her lungs because my youngest daughter is torturing the hamster, it’s a challenge to do any type of productive work (including the God-given, masculine sanctity of using the bathroom for two hours). At this moment, my children are pouting and whining incessantly, “Daddy play with me! I want somebody to play with me!” So please pardon me right now as I fulfill this paternal duty…

Sorry for the interruption. So what is the point of this seemingly random article? The point is simply this: as Christians we have a tendency to categorize certain activities as “spiritual” and other activities as “not spiritual.” For example, writing a blog about worship is “spiritual,” edifying, and honoring to God while playing with children is “not spiritual,” trivial, and of little eternal value. This kind of thinking (especially regarding how it demeans the family) is completely wrongheaded and possibly dangerous. It is a made-up dichotomy which is not supported by the Bible. Indeed, if we read Paul’s description of the criteria needed to be a deacon (1 Timothy 3:4-5), taking care of the family is a prerequisite to serving at church—not the other way around! Paul’s assumption is that if someone does not have his priorities straight, cannot be responsible at home, and cannot keep an orderly and happy family, how is that person going to take care of the responsibilities at church? But if you look at the lives of people in ministry today, the demands of “serving God” seem to have first priority, and “serving the family” is not even on the radar! Of course, the irony is that “serving the family” is “serving God.” And it is this fact that seems to elude the minds of some Christian workers today. The result is that many people serving in ministry are trying to help others fix broken families while their own families are falling apart.

And this problem of misplaced priorities is not only the fault of the church leaders, it is also the consequence of misguided expectations that the congregation has placed upon their leaders. We need to ask ourselves if we really want those shepherding us to spend 70 hours a week ministering at church to the neglect of their families at home (because at some churches that is the unsaid expectation of the pastor). Personally, whenever I hear that my pastor is going on a vacation or sabbatical, I’m glad. I think that he should do this more often.

One day, when we get to heaven, what we will find is that many of those expectations and undertakings that we thought were so grand, important, and “spiritual” were really quite insignificant, while those things that we brushed-off as menial were really the things that mattered the most. In fact, it’s time for me to stop writing this article and to get back to doing something really spiritual—it’s time to tickling my kids…



Louisa Stead & ‘Tis So Sweet

It’s hard to believe that this hymn, ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus, was written after the tragic death of the author’s husband. While Louisa, her four year old daughter, and her husband were vacationing on Long Island Sound, they heard the sound of a boy drowning. Mr. Stead quickly jumped into the water to try to rescue the boy. In his attempt to save him, both he and the boy drowned while Louisa and her daughter watched helplessly from the shore. I can’t even imagine the horrible anguish she had to endure at that moment. Louisa later penned the words to this hymn when contemplating the amazing grace of God which sustained her through her trials.