I’m a Pastor. “No duh!”

Obviously, you knew that. “You don’t say!”

I believe that my role is crucial and that this is exactly what I am called to do with my life. “You’re passionate, we get it, what does this have to do with me?”

But often I struggle; I struggle with letting this role be my center. “Hello, buddy. Do you hear me? I asked what does this have to do with me?”

Caring for people can become an idol in my life. I know, it sounds cheesy. It sounds like something we would write in the weakness section of a job application… but I think you are right there with me. “I’m not sure about that…”

You care for your kids. You love your kids. Heck, rearranging your schedule, finances and relationships for your children is your every day – you’d go to the moon and back for them – maybe even Mars. “Mars. That’s the name of the company that makes M&M’s. Do I have any M&M’s around? I need chocolate.”

You and I have similar problems. Whether it’s your kids or your job, we so quickly allow things to take Christ’s place in our lives. With good intentions our lives become messy and our relationship with God becomes an after thought in our family life. “Sorry, what’d you say? I was ordering M&M’s on amazon and realized that Mars also makes pet food. That’s concerning.”

I love caring for people, so I’ve realized that the best thing I can do for other people is to love God more than I love them – more than I love my job as a Pastor. The same goes for you as a parent. The best thing you can do for your kids is to love God more than you love your kids. “But what about chocolate, do I have to love him more than chocolate?”

Love God more than chocolate?

Love God more than chocolate?

I think of the Veggie Tales (a kids cartoon) version of the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego story. King Nebuchadnezzar called them to bow down to the chocolate bunny, but they said they couldn’t. They would only bow down to God. “Ok, love God more than chocolate. Got it.”

Our culture is calling us to “bow down” with our schedules, with our finances, with our attitudes, with our brain space. Our culture is saying, make KIDS the center of your life or make your JOB the center of your everything – culture says you are your own provider. “I want to make Christ the center. I really do.”

Unfortunately, many times, it takes us losing the thing we view as “our everything” before we realize that it isn’t. “I have lost so much, so many times. I am tired.”

Jesus put it very plainly, “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine” (Matthew 10:37).

Those are bold letters. Jesus must come first – he must take first place in our lives. “What steps can I take today?”

Let’s put Christ first. Let’s set time aside this week, maybe 15 minutes, and think over these questions:

  1. Do I love Christ more than anything else? More than family? More than work? More than stuff?
  2. Am I helping my kids love Christ more than they love me?

 

Once you think through these questions, get a piece of paper and start writing out your schedule. It can be messy, just jot out what next weeks schedule looks like. “Glad it can be messy, because I’m using my kids crayons to write on a In-N-Out napkin while I wait for them to get our of practice.”

Once, you wrote it out. Start writing categories next to each one. Like… #kids, #God, #husband, #wife, #job, #volunteer, #sports, #food, #home, #commute. No one is watching you; no one has to see this. Just jot a few categories for each one.

After you give each a category, count up which categories take up the most amount of your time. Those are the things that are at the center for your family.

Now brainstorm for a moment. How can you redeem that time for God? Here are some of my brainstormed ideas:

  1. #home – What if you played worship music as you cleaned your house or worked on your house? What if you played a Christian podcast? What if you let there be silence and listened to the Lord’s voice as you cleaned? What if you moved somewhere smaller so you had less time cleaning/repairing and more time with people? What ideas do you have?
  2. #kids –What if you played worship music on the way over to the ballet recital? What if when your kid asks if they could get involved with something you said, “no, that would require more of my time and I need some time to spend with God.”? What if you set a few minutes aside in the morning where the kids were not allow to bother you, because that’s your time with God? What ideas do you have?
  3. #food – What if you used the Parent Cue that our Children’s Ministry gives out to spark conversations during meal time?
  4. #commute – What if you listen to the audio from a sermon that you missed? What if you let there be silence in your car and just listened? What if you prayed over the people in the cars around you?

 

What are more ways to help put Christ at the center for yourself and your family?

Share your ideas, stories and thoughts with us in the comments section below!

- Pastor Brandon

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