Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reflections on Ministry and Marriage

In the light of recent news I have been silent about the situation. So, instead of speaking directly to the circumstance which may be more complex than any of us know, what does the Word say?

In ministry there is a marriage order, Ministry comes below the Marriage. I know many great men and women of God who are able to keep this in order. And many more who do not. The Divine Order is: God First, Family Second, Career Third. A man or woman serving God has to understand that the call of God on their lives is a profession, a career. It must in God's order come below family. Devotion to God is first. I know God, He isn't in the business of destroying families. His order is '''You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27. Who is more your neighbor than your family. I don't even see Career on the list. Ministries get confused when they think Loving God is equivalent to working for God. This is common, I know people who busy feeding the poor and starving their own children.

If a person is going to dedicate his life to service in Christ it would be better if that person didn't have a wife and kids. At least that's what Paul the Apostle advised in most of Chapter 7 of 1 Corinthians:
Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord [i.e., the Lord has not spoken directly on this] but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the impending distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:25-27

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Ministry, particularly national ministry, builds fiefdoms. Every church, every ministry fights this. People are given responsibility. They don't want to disappoint the man or woman of God they are submitted to, so they become territorial, even to offense. They build internal kingdoms. A worship leader becomes protective of his or her status. An administrative pastor will put in place systems and structures that are not family friendly. Spouse and Children are left out by structures and mini kingdoms inside the ministry.

The "Preacher's Kid" syndrome becomes harsh reality, but it goes beyond the preachers kid. Many wives or husbands find the aquarium of life too much to handle when their spouse is in ministry.

People treat the spouse of great ministries as either disappointed by unrealized expectations or even worse as a competitive sport. He or she is either NOT as anointed as the national minister or he or she is trying to be.... Both sides are failure.

There is no GOOD place for the spouse of a national ministry figure to be. Either you have to appear on the platform as an accessory, or you have to have your own (competitive) ministry or you have to stay deep in the dark shadows. None of these are good for marriage or ministry.

The only real way for a marriage to survive a successful ministry
is for the visible national minister to go very much out of his or her way to honor and respect in Love the wife or husband of their life. Anything else has shipwreck on it. He (in this case) must be willing to lay down his life for his wife above his ministry. That's Bible. Look at the link above, ministry and marriage are a bad fit.

An old adage is "A wife can double or halve your ministry". That's true. I would rather say, "A ministry can double or halve your marriage". I have known a few that it did double. Most were halved.

Divorce pushes a HUGE reset button on a ministry. It will for Benny Hinn if this goes to completion. It does most of the time. I know of none for whom it was just incidental.

These things are nearly always attacks of the enemy. The Holy Spirit will give a warning. He will send Nathans to declare danger signals over the Man or Woman of God. Mostly they are ignored. Busyness is the cause of spiritual deafness and Ministry is very busy.

I am grieved by this more than you know. Some of the players in this are known to me. I won't mention them.... but this is personal. It would have been better if they had never engaged.

"For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it." (Matthew 19:12)


Tim Campbell said...

Excellent observations!

Terry Bobzien said...

Thank you for this, Gene. I am very saddened by this situation. Benny has been one of my favorites over the last 20 years, and I have great concern how this will affect his ministry. Your citation of Biblical priorities is spot-on. It's important for all of us to answer the Deceiver wisely, as today's Gospel Lesson reminds us. (Luke 4:1-13)

Ron McK said...

You refer to the "The Divine Order is: God First, Family Second, Career Third " This is a nice idea, but it is not scriptural. The scriptural order is God first, God second, God third .....and God one hundred and thirty first......

The God first, family second idea is often used by pastors and church leaders to justify neglicting their families, so it is not very helpful.

The family second, career third is unrealistic and creates confusion. The reality is that if you have started a new business, you will sometimes have to put your work before your family. If you have an important order of shrubs to go out, you cannot always do everything that your familiy needs. On the other hand, there will be other times, when family will have to come before work. There will be times when you will sacrifice plant orders in order to meet family needs.

The key is that, if God is in the right place, then family, career, business and church will all fit into their right place. Each one of the latter will be given emphasis at the right time.

knowledge is power said...

Let him lose millions of dollars. He's a wolf in sheepskin clothing.