Just Answering Some Questions
1/15/2010 | Author: RCW
Okay, I have learned my lesson before.  "Comments" shouldn't be allowed to get too long and turn into blog entries themselves.  For that reason, I decided to post a relatively recent follow-up comment as its own entry.

Just to give you the context, here was the comment:

Responding to my previous post entitled "Bible Lore,"

Anonymous said...
I enjoy reading your postings, RCW!

Regarding "God won't give you more than you can handle"... So what DOES the Bible say?

Relating to "God helps those to help themselves"... What do you say to someone who spends a lot of time at church serving but neglects his/her family, and asks "I've spend so much time serving God, why is my family such mess?"
November 23, 2009 11:08 AM

And Here is My Too-Lengthy-to-Qualify-as-a-"Comment" Response:
Thanks for your comments, Anonymous.  I'm afraid my response is a lengthy one and is more like a blog entry than a comment.

As for the idea that God won't give us more than we can handle:
"God won't give you more than you can handle" might or might not be a concept that we could defend from the Bible.  But to claim that the Bible EXPLICITLY SAYS IT (as is most common) is a flat mistake.  The verse that people misinterpret specifically is 1 Corinthians 10:13 - "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" (NASB). The verse is specifically dealing with temptation (as is clear from the preceding verses as well 10:1-12) and even more specifically with temptation towards idolatry (Notice 1 Cor 10:14 reads "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry").   

The verse is saying that God always provides a way out of temptation.  There won't be a temptation that comes along you that is IMPOSSIBLE to resist or flee. 


Now, As for the second scenario -- regarding those that would spend so much time involved in ministry that they neglect or diminish their family -- there is much to be said there.  First, I will say that this is a real danger for many ministers (one which I myself have to vigilantly guard against constantly). 

It is important for that person to bear in mind that their first and foremost place of ministry is their home.  Without giving the proper attention to one's family, one should expect that their ministry will suffer.  Paul writes to Timothy of the prerequisites for someone desiring to be an overseer within the church.  He writes: "He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity, (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)..." 1 Tim. 3:4-5 

Engaging in ministry without ministering to one's family is almost like getting into the car for a 1,000 mile road trip and being stopped a few miles into it because you didn't maintain your vehicle by changing the oil.  

Additionally, from your comment, it could be that I am misunderstanding altogether. It could be that the person you mentioned is somehow feeling as though their service for God has earned them entitlement or immunity from family troubles.  If that is the case, I would seriously object to the attitude that service to God should eliminate difficulty.  (In fact, difficulty is an explicitly Biblical promise for any that want to serve Christ).  Christian service should not be confused with "karma" (the idea that if you are good, then good things will happen in your life and vice versa if you are bad).  In the Old Testament, Job had a friend or three that tried to impose this theology upon him...(in a sense they were saying to Job, "Well, Job, all this bad stuff has happened to you, so the problem is that you must not be pleasing to God.  You must be doing something wrong.  You must have sin in your life.  You'd better repent.").  At the end of the book of Job, God demonstrates and explicitly says that He doesn't work that way.  He doesn't operate based on karma.  He doesn't simply behave like the "gods" of the ancient Near East -- showing favor upon those that offer the proper sacrifices and punishing those that aren't pleasing to them.  His ways are so far beyond that superficial level.  In fact, sometimes he allows evil to happen to us FOR OUR GOOD (i.e. because he loves us so much).

So, it is an awful (not to mention incredibly offensive!) mistake for us to think that if someone is suffering or experiencing hardship, it is because that individual is not pleasing God.  In the same manner, the opposite is true.  We should never deceive ourselves by thinking that our Christian service is earning us an earthly reward.  Our reward (if any) lies in the age to come and not in this life.  After all, it is not for this world that we are entrusting our hope, but in the age, the world, the life that is yet to come.


I do hope that my comments have been helpful.  It is not as though I have all the answers either...I confess that I myself have much to learn and improve upon in this last area of allowing my family's needs to take priority before my ministry.


Do you agree with what I thought?  Do you disagree?  Would you have said anything differently or added something else?  Weigh in with your own opinion by leaving a comment!
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On January 18, 2010 at 11:02 AM , Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering my questions! I like your answers and I don't disagree with what you said. But what about Luke 9:57-62, where Jesus asks his followers to leave everything behind?