I recently read a newsletter from Dave Patty, the founder of Josiah Venture, a missionary organization in Central and Eastern Europe. He shared some insight he received 30 years ago that is just as relevant today as it was then. Let me share what I found to be the most pertinent part of the newsletter.
Dave shares about balance:
I was a young husband and father preparing to move to Eastern Europe in obedience to God’s call. Regular meetings with my disciple making pastor were part of my preparation, but I expected that we would spend more time talking about ministry strategy. Instead, his first item of business was always the same.
“How are you caring for your wife? How are you leading your kids? What is the health of your family?
The intensity of his voice and strength of his emotions left no doubt in my mind that this was a subject near to his heart. Trying to understand more, I asked what I thought was an obvious question.
“How should I balance family and ministry?”
“Balance?” he said with a stern tone that caught me off-guard. “When you balance you place two things in opposition to each other, assuming that when one gets more the other gets less. It sounds like you believe the more you give to your family, the less you give to ministry. Or, the more you give to ministry, the less you will have for your family.”
“What you don’t understand,” he continued, “is how the strength of your marriage and the health of your family extends and multiplies the impact of your ministry. The inverse is also true. There’s almost nothing that will limit your ministries effectiveness more than a lack of health in your marriage and in your home.”
One Word Question – Balance
I was struck by the use of a one-word question – “Balance?” In coaching, we call that a powerful question. A powerful question will evoke discovery, provide insight, motivate commitment, or encourage action on behalf of the receiver. A powerful question can also challenge assumptions and reframe thinking, which was the impact of this question on me.
After 50 years of marriage, a 27-year career in the Air Force and 20 years of ministry as co-founder of MarriageTeam, I found myself pondering my assumption about the balance between my marriage and my ministry. What if the scale is supposed to be un-balanced? What if attention to marriage and family is supposed to outweigh ministry, job, or career? What if the effectiveness of ministry, job, or career is directly tied to marriage and family health? What if my attention to my marriage and family multiplies my impact on my ministry, job, career? How am I going to apply this insight to my wife and family? We can’t go back and change the past, but from this point on we can choose to do life differently.
What Struck You?
So what struck you about what Dave shared? How are you going to apply this insight on balance to your own marriage and family?
If you found this helpful, please share it with someone who could benefit from looking at their marriage with a reframed view. If you would like to explore this further, check out www.marriageteam.org.