Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Where do you draw the line?

This will be a quick post as I am falling asleep and really need to just go to bed. I was wanting input on something I have been thinking about. When we bought our home we stayed in this neighborhood because we felt that God had led us here to be a witness to the people around us. We live in the inner city and there are next to no churches in the area and those who know Christ are definitely few. We had thought that one day God would have us start a church or something. Dan had been taking classes through our denomination to be a pastor but that ended when he hurt his back. With no money for classes and not being able to sit at the computer long enough to get anything done he had to step back from all of that. Now we don't know what God has in store for us.

We bought a house in a neighborhood that was so-so because we were wanting to make an impact. Now we don't know where we are going with that and the once okay neighborhood is now rapidly falling downhill. Once I would have walked around our neighborhood but now don't feel it is safe to go walking alone in the daytime. We have at least seven abandoned houses on our one block alone. We suspect that our former neighbor (he just moved recently) was breeding his pit bulls to fight. There was a raid on a drug house seven houses down and there is another suspected drug house across the street from that. We get emails notifying us when a sex offender moves within a mile of our house and it has been updating at least once if not twice a week lately.

All of that to say this- when do you draw a line between telling others about Christ and shining for him and the safety of your family? Is it ever okay to say that your family comes before the Great Commission? We are suppose to die to self and sacrifice for the gospel- but what does that really mean? I don't see us moving anytime soon, these are just the questions I have sometimes. I know some people say that when you have children they are your top ministry priority and nothing should take you from that mission field. On the other hand, although you don't want to expose them to any danger unnecessarily, you also should be putting top priority on following God and the Gospel. Many people in other nations are loosing their children's lives because they wont back down from the gospel's truth. I heard of a Christian pastor in a Muslim who wouldn't denounce Christ and had to watch his family die from disease because no one would give him the meds he needed for them.

I know Paul mentioned that it would be easier to serve the Gospel if you weren't married as marriage divides your loyalties. I truly think having children complicates that more then marriage does. Having your mate die for your faith seems an easier price then to watch your children suffer.

So where do you think the line should be drawn?


Our Family of Five said...

I am waiting to comment on this one because I'm still trying to figure out what I really think and feel about this subject. It's very very thought provoking. We all have convictions that take us further than what is specifically stated in scripture. The great commission means to one person baking a pie for an unsaved neighbor and inviting them to church, while for someone else it means packing up all of their belongings and heading into a remote part of India. Very very thought provoking post Kate, when my thoughts settle I'll let you know. :)

Promise Christian Academy said...

I am on a thinking slpurge about this one, too. However my first thought is this...providing your children a place to grow in, peacefully and with no fear. Is that not your first 'mission field' anyway? That is just my first thought. What if the children were older, mature in Christ... well I guess that would be different. This is just my first thoughts... The truth will only come to you through much prayer I am sure.
Hilda Rebecca

Jacque Dixon said...

Wow... I'm going out on a limb on this one... according to what is acceptable in most 'ministry-focused' churches today, anyway.
I think our first responsibility as parents is our children. Period. Do I think God won't send us where it may be dangerous for our children? No. I think when he does that, He will also protect them.
I do not think it comes down to a choice between fulfilling our responsibility as parents and fulfilling the Great Commission. Besides, I am going to have to look more into the GC, because it was directed, in one Scripture, as preaching salvation, and I know I am not called to be a preacher (tho I can give the plan of salvation to a neighbor or friend). There's also the fact that Jesus was speaking to the eleven (men) as a chastisement for not believing (Matt. says some doubted) that He had risen. I found this in Matt. and Mark.
So, my first impression upon reading your question "Is it ever okay to say that your family comes before the Great Commission?" was that your family ALWAYS comes before the GC. Always. But, that does not always mean putting your family first in the way it sounds.
Sometimes putting your family first will be to live in a neighborhood such as the one you are in or serving at a local shelter on Thanksgiving or Christmas, instead of doing family stuff. It's all in the perspective of God's plan. We have had to ask ourselves this very questions on many occasions in a local church setting, when we were told to put a ministry before what we taught our children. We could not do that. God gave us these children with very detailed instruction on their upbringing, and He is the One who will give us opportunity to include them, if He so chooses. It is not our choice, nor anyone else's to put preaching the Gospel ahead of that. It is His and His alone.
In the case of the Muslim, I don't think that was about the GC. It was about denying Christ, which no one should do, even to save their child's life. We are talking about denying our God here, and there is no comparison to that.
Thank you for such good food for meditation, and I pray that God will show you His plan and make a way.