1 Timothy 3:4-5, “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”
If I neglect the menial tasks of caring for my household, how will I be able to care for a congregation? The daily responsibility of taking care of the home is supposed to be shared amongst the family. Too often men who want to serve the church in some capacity will think that hard work in the church or the seminary classroom deserves more of their time than their home. Usually, the task, which is to be shared, is abruptly ignored. However, the duty of managing home becomes neglected as a joint responsibility because excuses flair up. Either studying can be tiresome, or the demands of the church can be exhausting. However, this doesn’t give the minister or the seminarian license to be slackers in the home.
I work 40 sometimes 48 hours a week. My job doesn’t demand much from me. I don’t take anything home like my wife does. She is a teacher. However, there are times I have had an exhausting day. I’ll come in the front door, hug my wife, and head to the couch. By the time I have my boots off, she’ll ask me to fulfill my responsibilities as a husband. Which usually is clearing off my dresser, washing clothes, tidying up my study space or taking out the trash. There are times when I’ll come through the door knowing I have a class to study for, a message to work on for youth, or a sermon to prep for a Sunday morning and I’ll dread her requests. But as of lately I’ve been able to be more available to keep the household in order. We don’t have much to maintain. We live in a duplex that is a little over 800 square feet. We have two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a living room that blends with the dining room. Also, we have a really small kitchen. It doesn’t take much to keep this place in neat and tidy. However, there are weeks where our schedules are full. Sometimes our bed won’t always be made, or the laundry will be backed up. But Callie, my wife, always gets us back on track of keeping our living space spick and span.
In 2 months or less, Lord willing, we will be moving to Kansas City, MO so I can finish my Masters in Divinity at the seminary. Life will be a lot different. We will meet new people. We will live closer to a lot more people. Also, we will have a bigger selection of restaurants to try out. But my duty to manage my household won’t change. Our hope is that Callie will find a teaching job that provides well where I don’t have to work full-time. I’ll still look to work 30-35 hours a week. But I will also be on-campus in the classroom 9 hours to 12 hours a semester, working a semi-full-time job, serving the local church, and managing my household. But like my pastor has told me time, and again ministry is laborious.
If I’m not willing to work hard in every area that God has called me to work then how will I ever be able to work the fields of church ministry? When God called me to the church ministry, He called me to a life of labor. In my studies, in my job, in my church, in my marriage, and even in my own individual sanctification He requires much of me to honor Him. I am not to slack off, and most importantly I am not to complain about all that I am being tied to. I have faith that as we look to seminary life on campus God will use these next few years to make me a better student of the Word, a joyful worker, a more faithful husband, and a more humble Christian.
Too often I have seen young Christian men who treat biblical and pastoral training as a cruise vacation in the Bahamas. Therefore after seminary, they will see the church the same way. Church ministry is a ministry of hard and draining work. The laborer earns his wage not by avoiding hard work, but by being in the thick of it. (1 Timothy 5:18)
Seminary is not a big cruise where you go to read a lot of books, talk about theology, drink your java, and dress real hip. Seminary is much more like boot camp. Now the professors might not spit in your face, and yell at you, but it is like boot camp in the sense that it will prepare you for war. There will be times when you’ll be studying or working on minimal hours of sleep. There will be times when an arduous project is due the same week family is coming in, you have to cover extra hours for someone at work, and you still need to take your wife on a date. Trekking through these briar patches is what God uses to prepare His man for the ministry.
God does not call slackers to do His work. When He calls a man to fulfill the ministry, He prepares him in extraordinarily mysterious ways. I may not see why I am leaving a monotonous obscure job to take on another job that is just like it. But if I do not seek the Lord’s joy and trust His guidance then I’ll never find joy in church ministry. God is using situations that I see unfit or useless to conform me to the image of His Son. If my goal is not becoming more like Christ, I will quickly try to desert what He has already orchestrated for my good.
My duty, in seminary, does not change because I have a lot on my plate. Instead, I should take advantage of what God has given me and use it to glorify Him. Slackers look at a massive task ahead, tuck tail and run. Christian men like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, go forward (John 18:4). They walk in obedience to God’s instruction and seek to follow what He commands.
I find it difficult some days to come home, fold laundry, wash dishes, and pick up my stuff. But in the home, my duty is to honor, cherish, and love my wife. Through these menial tasks, I show her that I care about our household. Through caring for our home, I show I care about her. More importantly, I do well in reflecting the character of God, which is to lay down my life in love (Ephesians 5:25). Don’t let the drudgery work of the home knock your focus off of what God is doing to prepare you for His church. Instead, take the time to examine all that God is requiring of you and think on how He would desire you to make the best use of your time (Ephesians 5:16). Slacking off is not an option in seminary as it will eat you up and spit you out. Take a deep breath, remember Christ has completed the work for your salvation, study hard, and labor well in taking care of your household.