Home Life as a Resume
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 1 Timothy 3:4
Eight years ago, when life threatened to fall apart as my addiction came to light, I begged God to get me out of my mess. I attempted to bargain with him, promising that if he delivered me from my consequences that I’d go to Africa to be a missionary. It was an absurd promise. Can you imagine? My personal life was an absolute disaster. It would have been a calamity to try and export that chaos to some third world country in an attempt to serve others. I’d shattered trust at home and my family was on the verge of collapse. The last thing Africa needed was me and my dysfunction to come there. I’d proven that I couldn’t manage my own life. The solution was not to promote me to some ministry leadership position. As you may know, God didn’t take me up on my offer. I stayed home, faced my consequences, found recovery, and put my life back together.
I see this occasionally though. In church or in parachurch organizations, the job often goes to the willing, not necessarily to those with a proven track record. Because few people want to volunteer for service, sometimes the pool of candidates for a job is desperately small and so, it goes to the individual who says he (or she) will do it, whether he’s qualified or not.
In today’s passage though, in choosing an ideal Christian leader, Paul said we must look at a candidate’s home life. Just like a prospective employer would look at experience and past performance, the church must examine one’s family life in assessing aptitude for service. Does a candidate have a track record of function or dysfunction? Is his home life harmonious or a disaster? If he has proven himself to be a poor manager of budgeting, marriage, and parenting, then he’s likely not the person for the job. If, however, he’s shown that he can do well with his personal family, them he will be more capable of serving the church family.
The lesson for us personally, is that we must attend to our personal life first. Before we attempt to do any job outside the home, we must first do our job inside it. Daily, we must examine how we’re spending our time. Do we invest in our relationships with those closest to us? Or, do we take them for granted, pouring our energies into everything but our family life? An admirable leader does his (or her) job at home first.