Contending for years that the most difficult task any individual has to do in life is to maintain balance between their educational, professional, charitable and family time, I’ve personally never seen this effort so daunting. Just think of your own holiday calendar from Thanksgiving through the New Year. We all love our friends and family, our coworkers (mostly), our neighbors, and those we come into contact with all year long, but when the holiday parties take up every night of the week, where is the time to dedicate to family?
Luke, Chapter 9, Verse 25 asks a question: “For what is a man’s advantage if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” I know what the verse teaches, but I believe it could also apply to the fact that a person can seek to gain the whole world or the world’s attention, and lose his own family. How sad that would be for all concerned.
Having worked with ministers church staff members, and school administrators and teachers for years across this nation, I’ve seen what men and women have allowed to happen to their own boys and girls, blaming it all on “serving God in the ministry.” There is no more important ministry than our family members. Start first at home — teaching, helping, supporting, admonishing, spending time with and loving on your own family before going out to save the world.
I would add here, too, something I read a short while ago: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The illustration given in the story I read was about two couples that practically moved in with each other. Where you saw one, you saw the other. If the mom of one family wore jeans and a yellow sweater, the other mom showed up in jeans and a yellow sweater. If the family got a new vehicle, it wasn’t a month before the second family had to have a new vehicle. The women cooked the same meals, shopped at the same stores, and attended the same church services until one day the friendship simply exploded. They were tired of each other. It left the children confused and disoriented. What had happened? Too much of a good thing is simply too much of a good thing. Every person needs his or her own individuality. That is the way God made us.
What had been mutual fun interests now became chains of control. What once was southern hospitality was now required attendance. When close friendship was once offered, now it was a sense of “you owe me to do what I want because I am your best friend.” When one of the couples went out to dinner with a third couple, contempt bred of being too familiar became quite obvious. It was a parting of the ways, and it was sad.
Be very cautious who you allow to have unusual influence over your children and teens. Check out their companions and for heaven’s sake, do not bring adults into the home that talk of nothing but alcohol, drugs, wild parties and unsavory sex. If our families are to be saved, and especially during this happy holiday season, we must limit over exposure to the wrong things and the wrong people. It might sting a little, but learn to follow what the Bible teaches and develop your own convictions.
Brenda Cannon Henley is an award-winning journalist and writer living on the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast. Having enjoyed more than four decades in ministry, Brenda shares her columns with our readers and works with churches and faith-based programs nationwide. She can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.