CHAPTER 17: A LEADER LEADS HIS FAMILY

The title of the article caught my attention, “Why So Many Entrepreneurs Get Divorced” followed by the subtitle “Why the start of a company so often spells the end of a marriage”[1]. This article is a reminder not only that leading one’s company can lead to marital discord but also that success as a leader does not automatically translate into success as a father or a mother. The reverse is often true. There are many top managers whose family life is shambolic.

 

In the office, one’s colleagues do not always care that much about what happens to a leader’s family so long as he delivers. In contrast, to the Christian, leadership always starts in the family.

 

As we have seen earlier, to aspiring elders, Paul has this to say, “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 3:4-5). A person who is not leading his family well is not qualified to lead the household of God. The logic of Paul is simple—if one cannot even lead his own family, how can he lead the church of God?

 

In my decades of preaching, one crucial indicator I use every Sunday is whether I can preach my sermon and look at my wife in the eye with a clear conscience. As a sinner, all of us are, of course, not perfect. But can our families attest to our genuine desire to follow the Lord? This desire includes a readiness to admit our mistakes and apologize to them if necessary.

 

There are untold Christian leaders whose effectiveness has been short-circuited by a sour relationship with their spouses. I cannot underscore this point more strongly. If you want to be an effective ministry leader, pray and seek for a godly wife. Grow in your relationship with her, and you will not regret the time you invested in her. If you are already married, make your relationship to your spouse your number one priority, even more than your children. Yes, that’s right, even more than your kids. Many parents today concentrate so much on their children at the expense of keeping the flame of love alive.

 

Do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating neglecting our children. Instead, my point is do not sacrifice the health of your marital relationship for the sake of your children. It is not a zero-sum game. You can love both your spouse and your children. It's a matter of knowing the proper balance. Next to my salvation, God’s greatest blessing to me is my wife, Haydee. Without her at my side, I could not have attained whatever positions God has given me over the years.

 

Moreover, you must prioritize your spouse even more than your ministry or work. It is easy to crave for outward success at the expense of one’s marital obligations. We can also use God’s work as an excuse to neglect our duties as husbands or wives.

 

A Christian leader must also take time to train and discipline his children. Paul said that managing the household well includes proper training of children to be submissive to their parents (see 1 Timothy 3:4). We live in a culture where kids are the idols of many parents. The latter work hard for their kids and give them their hearts desire. Such children grow thinking the world owes them whatever they want. Once these children leave home, not a few rebels against their parents and leave the religion of their birth.

 

No success in the ministry or the office can compensate for failure in the home. So before you aim for great things in your leadership role, make sure that you lead your family first.

 

Discussion Guide

1. Describe your relationship with your spouse and children.

2. Identify the areas you need to address to improve your relationship with your family.

 

Notes:

[1] https://www.inc.com/magazine/20101101/why-so-many-entrepreneurs-get-divorced.html  Accessed 5/13/19

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