Unfortunately, evangelists have been noted for reaching the world yet losing their family in the process. The amount of time spent on the road kept them from giving attention to their wives and their children as they should have. Those who know me well know that my wife and I have a great marriage and a son who is married and very committed to the Lord. Along with God’s grace, I want to share how I keep my family my priority while traveling for the gospel.
First, I closely watch my schedule. Most of my engagements are now weekend trips instead of weeklong ones. What hasn’t changed, though, is that I do not book engagements back-to-back. Instead I’m gone for a few days and then home again before I leave for my next engagement. Not only does that prevent me from overdoing it physically, but it also gives me more time with my family.
My son is now married, but my wife still needs that time. Because of consistently not booking two engagements back-to-back, I am able to keep my relationship my wife fresh and growing. Though I do spend 40% my time on the road, it doesn’t always seem like it, because I’m only gone for one engagement at a time.
Second, when I’m home, I’m home. By that I mean that I keep my time compartmentalized. I’m at the office during the day, but my evenings are free. Unlike a pastor who is on call many evenings, I have my after-office hours free for my family. As my son was growing up, I sometimes asked him, “Would you rather I be a pastor?” Every single time he answered that he would not. When I asked him why, he said that it was because he observed I had more time with him in the evenings than many pastors’ kids get with their fathers. The fact that I was free in the evenings was a huge benefit and still is.
I could cite other things that have helped me maintain a good family life while trying to reach the world. The above two, though, has helped the most. It’s also demonstrated my priorities to my own family. When I stand before the Lord, I want to hear Him say, “Well done.” That will only happen if I’m being faithful to my calling and my family.