I have always had a great desire to succeed. Back when I was in my late 30’s I was a staff minister in a large church in Portage, Indiana and I wanted to do all I could to really make a difference. I would leave home in the morning at 6:30 am and not come home til after 10:00 pm most nights. I wanted to succeed no matter the cost.
My son Brett was starting into T-ball at that time and I was too busy to sometimes go watch him play let alone take him to practice. My wife was dying of loneliness. She was second to my job. But of course I would keep her in her place by saying, “I’ve got to do this for the LORD. This is of eternal importance.” We men know how to use those cop-out phrases when we know we are wrong.
That particular year my wife was in the hospital one time, I almost lost her and my little baby was in the hospital two times and I almost lost her but I still didn’t stop and listen to what GOD was saying to me
My office was right next door to where we lived and one morning I was over there way before anyone else had showed up and I heard a knock on the door and I went to it and found Margaret in tears. She then blurted out through her tears that my mom had just called and that my dad in the night had been killed in truck accident. That of course brought me up short.
We had his funeral in western Kansas and I did real well through it but when I got home, I went to pieces. I emotionally hit bottom. There were times that I would be standing on the corner waiting to cross and the thought would go through my mind to just step out in front of the next car and do away with the pain but GOD held me steady.
You see, GOD was striving to get to me and HE did. Within that year I resigned my position there at the church and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana to sell Insurance. That wasn’t really what GOD had in mind for me but HE wanted me to get my act together.
Basically what HE wanted from me was to fall in love with HIM in a new way and to fall in love with my family because they were a gift from HIM and if I had kept those two relationships, HIM and them in focus, I wouldn’t have had the trouble emotionally and relationally that I had had.
I eventually knew that GOD wanted to get me back into ministry, so I quit my Insurance job and started selling Dominos Pizza and started looking for a church to go to. Those were difficult days but they were also defining days because of my renewed commitment to GOD and to my family and I determined from that day forward that I still wanted to make a major difference for GOD, but that I wouldn’t do it at the expense of my family.
I had one man ask me if I thought I could be a successful church planter and spend so much time with my family and I told him, “Yes”. And I have made it a challenge to be successful and to spend time with my family so that I can be an example to other men who have gotten caught up in their mistaken view of what success is. GOD had to take me through great pain in order to get my attention.
There are lessons we only learn through pain.
Just a thought from the front porch…