Tension 5 : Family and work:
Here’s the quandary : How do I fulfill the Scriptural responsibilities of family life and still succeed in my professional life when the sum of the demands and responsibilities in both arenas often appears to be humanly impossible? Something has to give.
Jesus cautioned us, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul…” (Matt. 16:26a)?
After interviewing innumerable business executives, author Laura Nash (“Believers in Business”) concluded, “When it comes down to the work-family balance, family has been terminally put on hold by the successful executive devoted to his business. 2
My father was the CEO of a global shipping company which dominated his life 24/7. Tragically, he burned through two marriages. My sister and mother died prematurely – probably suicide. The damage to my sister’s offspring was incalculable.
Harvard psychiatrist Armand Nicholi has gathered data suggesting that the absence of the father is particularly damaging to sons, who may not display any ill effect until late in their teen years. 3 Certainly as a boy, I acutely felt the adverse effects of Dad’s preoccupation with business.
In my mid-40’s I was in a leadership position in my work that required a great deal of time away from home. Returning home from a trip one day, it occurred to me that I was repeating my father’s patterns. Shortly thereafter I resigned my job and took a position with immeasurably less status. Today, by God’s grace my two children and their spouses are all walking with God. From my vantage point in these senior years, I am convinced that choosing family values over prestige was indeed the wise choice.
We have to ask the question as to what is right in light of eternity. If being top banana comes at the price of a strained marriage, or running the risk of losing our kids, is it worth it? Obviously not.
As followers of Christ we are compelled to make choices that do not violate biblical directives on parenting, marriage, and provision for the family. (See Deu. 6:1-3; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; I Tim. 5:8; Col. 3:18-21; Tit. 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1-11)
Pat Morley offers, “Why not prioritize everything we do on the basis of who’s going to cry at our funeral?” 4 I would ask the question, “In light of eternity, what is really important?” Personally I am sobered by the truth in I Corinthians 3:10-14 as a measuring stick of what God deems important and how we will be judged accordingly.
This week may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
1In this series, we are drawing heavily from Dr. Laura Nash’s book, Believers in Business,”Thomas Nelson, Publishers 1982, 2. Ibid 194,3ibid 213, 4ibid 212 –