I’m just going to speak from the heart here and I hope to convey an important message to all who serve in ministry to our Lord Jesus Christ. I used to serve on staff at New Life Evangelical Free Church in Aurora, Colorado as the building maintenance supervisor for 6-1/2 years. However I left the ministry that Jesus had called me to. My excuse was to love my wife as Christ loved the church. You see, my wife of twenty years, after seeing some of the devastation of the aftermath of married women whose husbands had passed on due to an unexpected illness or tragedy, decided to go to college and get a degree in nursing. After our kids were old enough to not need a full-time mother, she decided it was time to start her own career and have an income that would support herself and all those still under her care if something were to happen to me. When she graduated in 2010, the economy was in such a place that she could not secure permanent full-time employment in Colorado, as the competition was too fierce and most hospitals were reluctant to hire new grads.
As the months passed by with her just getting menial work and broken promises, we discussed moving out of state if she could get a good offer. As part of the consideration, we included our youngest son in our decision that we would only move somewhere near the ocean since he has Cystic Fibrosis and somewhere at sea level with salty sea air and humidity would be beneficial to his condition.
I thought what I was about to do would impress my hero, my Jesus, because I was going to sacrifice all, my best job ever, my ministry, in order that my wife could now work outside the home and follow her dream of becoming a nurse. I left not only my job for which I was employed, but the praise and worship ministry of which I played saxophone and flute, and helped to grow a ministry of prayer that had previously had seen only very limited success.
It wasn’t long after the move to Lafayette, Louisiana, that I figured out that the Lord was not impressed with my sacrifice. In fact I’ve been, for the most part, miserable ever since. I kept questioning God, “What is wrong with our relationship?”, “Why does it seem you are not happy with me?”, and “Why does our fellowship seem broken?”. I wasn’t getting an answer for over 2 years. After those first two I decided to change churches, because I felt I wasn’t getting fed by the church we were attending. The first service at the new church I received my answer. That Sunday the worship pastor preached because the lead pastor was away on a mission trip. He preached about the way God expects us to love Him. Our love for our family, our parents, our spouses, our kids, and all others, should be like hate compared to the love we should have for Christ.
A light bulb clicked on in my brain and the years of wondering were gone. I then remembered my pastor in Aurora once preached the same thing! I had thrown away the ministry Jesus had given me and instead of loving Him for it, I sacrificed it for others. You see, Jesus wants us to sacrifice all for him. He would never ask, expect, or even desire for us to sacrifice His calling for our spouses or anyone else.
So, a word of advice to all of you who are called to serve our Lord in ministry. Make sure your priorities are set with Jesus’ best interests in mind. Sacrificing for others is commendable, but not at the expense of the ministry God has called you to. Do not move unless God calls you to, and even then, make sure the decision to move is immersed in fervent prayer and is done in His timing. Avoid a life of misery and regret, because you won’t be the only one who will regret it, but possibly the very ones you sacrificed for will regret it too. But most of all, let it be known, your Lord will most definitely regret it.
In Christ’s Love,
Dear Lord, please forgive me for trying to impress You with the decision to sacrifice the ministry You called me to in order to show my love to my wife. My love belongs to You first! The marriage to her is but a short while we are here on earth, but the marriage to You is eternal. Please give me another chance to serve You in the way I should. In Your name I pray, amen.