For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” Genesis 30:30
When you have a gift that greatly benefits others, it will be in high demand. It can feel as if the gift is both a blessing and a curse. It’s hard to tell who your real friends are. You’re popular, yes, but is it because of your gift or because of the person you are?
Jacob had God’s blessing. Everything he touched of Laban’s prospered. It is no surprise that the gift Jacob gave of seven years of labor turned into a kind of slavery. Laban had no intention of letting Jacob go. At this point though, it was time to think about his own family’s provision. Their future was at stake.
In the generation before me, this was the philosophy of ministry: Give everything to ministry and God will take care of your family. As a teenager, I got to personally witness ministry families. Fathers would take off for weeks, sometime for months. Mothers raised the children. To this day, I see the fallout from children who lived in a fatherless environment.
It is easy to give your gift where it is appreciated. Ministry can be an aphrodisiac and all the while, the family suffers. Is today the day when you should go home? You simply can’t ignore the needs at home any longer. It won’t be easy to put your family first. Initially, their anger will be center stage over your absence. Persevere. Humbly ask for forgiveness and prove, with time, that you are sincere.
I’ve been in ministry for 45 years. There were periods when it was addicting. I got to know myself and realized I needed to turn down some great invitations in exchange for putting my family first. Believe me, I haven’t always gotten it right. One night in Canada some years ago, God brought a woman to me who offered this prophetic word. “Go home and cultivate faithfulness.” The spirit of conviction burned through my soul. I made some course corrections. Ultimately, everything I do is for the glory of God and that often means saying no to others and yes to a spouse or child.
Families are falling apart. The window of time to repair it is short. Show all of us who read this today how it applies. Amen