Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
When God rates the requirements of those who serve Him, He elaborates on one characteristic specifically and explains it in more detail than any of the others: the one about family (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6). Clearly, this trait is very significant. Why is it so important to manage one’s family well? What does Paul mean when he says that the way we relate to our mate and children is the way we will relate to those to whom we minister? Maybe because our “real” self comes out most vividly at home and God is concerned with who we really are. He is not impressed with the face we show others — He knows that face is just a veneer and will one day crack and fall off. He knows if we use anger to get our way at home, we will eventually do this with others outside the home. He knows that if we avoid difficult situations, if we use others as a means for our purposes, if we manipulate guilt, whatever we do, that it will inevitably creap in our ministry, as well. Even the best hypocrite will slip up sooner or later.
Sadly, often our mate and family get the worst side of us. When was the last time that you were having a heated discussion with your mate, and the phone rang; you answered in a tone of voice completely different than that which you were using just a moment ago with your mate. Doesn’t our mate deserve our best behavior? Shouldn’t they be treated as well, or even better, than strangers? They know us better than anyone, and yet they love us unconditionally. They will be a part of our lives long after everyone else has gone. That relationship is the one that must come first. Sure it is harder because our spouse knows us as we truly are. It is much easier to be nice to the young teens in our group who are easily impressed with us. The young teens gives us an ego boost, but it is our mate at home that really matters.
So remember, God does not look to see how we treat the teens that admire us, but how we treat our mate and family. That is how He evaluates our growth and maturity. What kind of score is He giving you?
1 Timothy 3:4, “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)”
Titus 1:6, “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”
Ephesians 5:21-33, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord… Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself…. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
- As God looks at your relationship with your mate, where would He give you good marks? What are you doing right?
- Where would God say there is room for improvement?
- What would your mate change about you if they could? Maybe you should have that hard conversation with him/her to find out honestly.
- Write down 3 things you can do to improve your relationship with your mate, starting now.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on March 31, 2008