Tag Archives: missionary

The Beauty of Raising a Family in the Cause of Christ

The other day my wife said that the pursuit of the cause of Christ would be infinitely easier if I didn’t have a family.

She said it casually, kindly, towards the end of a conversation we were having about pursuing missionary work. She said if not for the obligation to care and support a family one could easily pursue the work of God.

She has a biblical case.

She trotted out Jesus’ statement, “And there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake for the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

And she mentioned Paul who indicated that the married man or woman who has divided affections, serving the spouse, the children, could not give the full weight of their attention to the cause of Christ.

“Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.”

Egg Drop Soup for Breakfast

Sensing that I wasn’t seeing her point she suggested that we wouldn’t have the house to sell or the multiple cars needed in today’s mobile society to be agile. If I was a bachelor, my accommodations would be meager, a pillow and mat in some hostile that cost me $60 a month.

All my belongings in a back pack. Egg drop soup for breakfast, bananas for lunch.

While there is something noble about the devotion and simplicity of being single to serve the cause of Christ, I hardly think it is something to be cherished by a man who is married and with children. Paul said, “Each man must remain in the condition in which he was called.” It seems that Paul was perhaps combating the acts of some Christians who abandoned their family for Christ.

Of course my wife wasn’t suggesting I abandon the family, just merely suggesting that I probably dream about the simplicity of being single to champion the cause of Christ.

Okay. Fair enough.

Lone Missionary v. the Family

The longing to be single to pursue the cause of Christ, in the name of Christ, is a very real temptation. Yet to indulge that temptation would do nothing but sully my testimony of Christ.

To justify with a cold calculation that I could possibly impact more people because I had more freedom by sacrificing my family could quite possibly be one of the most damaging things I could do–both to my family and to Christ.

The other thing that did not sit well with me, and a notion that did not occur to me until afterwards, is that God would get more glory in a family championing the cause of Christ than a single person doing the same thing.

In fact, we expect the single Christian to live unencumbered, to devote a large degree of their time and energy into the causes of Christ. We simply don’t see it as being much of a sacrifice.

We expect them to have a near-reckless faith.

A lone missionary travelling to Nigeria makes sense. A family with small children, on the other hand, is a different story.

When God Gets the Greater Glory

To even engineer that move is woefully complex. Passports, shots and finances. And the dangers are very real. The cemeteries of mission fields hold the graves of missionaries, many of whom are small children. Yet it is done hundreds, if not thousands, of times a year.

And it is that type of sacrifice and obedience that gives greater glory to God. The larger the family and the the greater the burden, but the more grace from God needed, and the more glory that God gets in the end.

For someone like me who is prone to thinking he must achieve something great–a body of literary work that spans centuries, for example–a family is paramount to keeping him grounded and ever trusting in God for what is truly important in this life.

A corpus that cements my existence in the collective memory for a century or two is a failure if it is done at the expense of one’s family.

As Jesus said, “For a man who wishes to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses it for my sakes will find it.”

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10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Missionary [in your own home]

Ten reasons why you should be passionate about preaching the gospel to your children and making disciples out of them.

When I was born again, I endured a minor identity crisis.

For twenty years I poured my self into becoming a world class writer. I got the degree. The friends. The mentors.

I accumulated a stockpile of used journals. Tore through a tiny library of books. And generated hundreds of bad poems, marginal short stories and a god-awful novel or two.

I abandoned all else for that single and solitary ambition–to become a famous writer.

I even went as far as to admire one writer’s unrelenting drive to succeed at novel writing–he skipped his adult son’s funeral so he could write.

That’s, indeed, how perverted my thinking had become.

So just weeks after Christ stripped me of all selfish ambition I found myself staring at the ceiling at a complete loss. What do I do now?

The answer completely startled me.

A Ridiculously Short Bio on J. Edwards

It began when I read a . In particularly a somewhat legendary commentary about the size of his family–and their impact on this country.

Jonathan and Sarah Edwards bore eleven children. Four hundred descendants in all.

But it was not the size of that family that really mattered. It was the legacy of those 3 sons and 8 daughters that counted.

The fourteen college presidents. The one hundred or so professors. The close to one hundred ministers. Lawyers. Judges. Nearly sixty doctors. The rest–authors and editors.

That legacy is enormous.

A Dark-Night-of-the-Soul Lesson about Raising a Family

Most of us our content leaving a 70-year footprint on history. Jonathan and Sarah saw things differently. They saw things from an eternal perspective.

And left a 200 year footprint.

How? They . Which brings me back to the point of this post.

The lesson I learned as a new believer was this:

You are a missionary to your family. You are responsible for sharing the gospel with your wife and children. And making disciples of them.

What could be more important than nurturing the souls of our own children? If indeed I truly believed that my children were souls who would last forever…then my wife and I were responsible for nudging those souls to Christ.

Granted, being a missionary to your family doesn’t carry the . You’re NOT going to be arrested, driven away or killed.

But you can be betrayed. Hated. Maligned.  Yet, the reason you press on, the reason you count the cost–remaining anonymous in a world that cherishes popularity–and the the reason you lay it all on the line is because the blessings far outweigh the risks.

Being a Missionary in Your Own Home: 10 Reasons

I hope the following 10 reasons will give you a passion to preach the gospel to your children and make disciples out of them.

1. You are sent by Christ.

, “We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ.”

2. You are given the words you need by the Holy Spirit.

Worried you’ll look stupid? Sound dumb? Don’t worry. God .

3. You always have a Father who cares for you.

No matter the stupidity you do wade into or the goofiness that overwhelms you in weak times, God loves you. Show your children that same love and mercy.

4. You rejoice in the salvation of your children.

We don’t put stock in our persuasion. Or our parenting skills. We put stock in the omnipotence of God, the Holy Spirit and the gospel message–the mechanisms behind salvation. The mechanisms that unearths their spiritually dead souls to new life. That is cause for celebration.

5. Your soul is immortal.

And so are your children’s souls. You’ll see why this is so important in a minute.

6. You know that Jesus is coming in judgment and mercy.

If your children’s souls are immortal, then this : “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” We spend great energy protecting our children from drowning in a pool. Do we spend that same amount of energy when it comes to eternal death threats?

7. You are part of God’s family.

Any rejection or betrayal you endure is ameliorated by the promise that you are adopted into God’s family. And as an adopted heir, you .

8. Your patience will be rewarded.

Whether you actually get to celebrate the new birth of your children or not, your patient persistence in obeying Christ’s commandment will not be forgotten.

9. You know that God governs every detail.

Relax. God is smarter than you. And will let nothing slip through his fingers. Ever.

10. You are NOT despised–rather valued by God.

God considers you a treasure. A treasure he determined before the creation of time that would bring him great joy. So he loves you despite your success and failures. Love him back by teaching your children to thirst for him.

, “Our misery is that we thirst so little for these sublime things, and so much for the mocking trifles of time and space.”

Do you thirst for the salvation of your children? For their obedience to Christ? For their lives to be selflessly given for the work of the kingdom?

I don’t. Not enough. Let’s do this better. Promise?