In Andy Stanley’s When Work and Family Collide, Stanley challenges the idea that families have to be sacrificed on the altar of work. Stanley acknowledges that there is not enough time to get everything done that we are convinced needs to be done at work. As a result, we often resort to the chaos of knee jerk reactions. We choose tending to the squeaky wheels at the workplace at the expense of tending to our families. We find ourselves tending to the urgent at the expense of tending to what is important.
Stanley rightly points out that at home we have invaluable roles. It is within the context of family that we were designed to have our human relational needs met at the most intimate level. At home we play unique roles. Your spouse is the one you committed yourself to. You are the only father or mother your children will have. Stanley said, “Until you make up your mind to quit cheating at home, it’s pointless to talk about how everything’s going to pan out.”
I want to ask you a question. If you were suddenly removed from your work and family, where would there be the greatest long-term impact? We often live with the illusion that good intentions and desire will somehow heal the wounds we create with our absence and misprioritization of our families. Stanley states: “The problem is, you love your family in your heart, but you don’t love them in your schedule. And they can’t see your heart.” Over time our families learn that the only way to get our attention is to create a crisis.”
In the workplace you are expendable. Yes, sometimes this is difficult to swallow but you can be replaced. Even if you own your own company, you’re expendable. As a small business owner you may consider yourself invincible and a risk taker. Let me ask you, are you willing to risk your family? Do you realize what is at stake when you cower at the prospect of saying “no” to lucrative opportunities at the expense of time with your family? Have you ever heard someone say that they had parents who worked all the time but God filled the void? For many of us we have looked to work to fill a void that it was never meant to fill. It becomes more than just providing for our family. If we are not careful it can become the idol that captivates us by stroking our egos and feeding our need for significance.
If we search for significance in the next promotion or a greater bank account, we fool ourselves into thinking that it will satisfy our deepest longings. May I tell you that I have found something that has satisfied my soul? It is a relationship with the living God. It is this vertical relationship that helps me prioritize work and family. I am convinced that no one gets to the end of their life and wishes they had spent more time at the office. They will wish they had spent more time with their families and reconciling themselves to the living God.
When we misuse our time we hurt people. Often it is the ones we love most. It is imperative that we do not abdicate our roles at home assuming that our time does not matter or that God will fill in the void. When we ask God to fill the void at home created by our absence, we are assuming that God could not as easily fill the void at work as He could fill the void at home. Do you allow God to enter into your most difficult work circumstances? Can you trust Him with your business? We must learn to order our steps with our heavenly Father’s priorities trusting Him to fill in the gaps created by placing our faith in His ability and not ours. Fellow business owners, we must strive to live our lives governed by a greater purpose. It is found in the Person of Jesus Christ and the people He has given us, not in profit.
I want to issue each of you a challenge for the next 30 days. Instead of leaving the office when you’re finished with everything, leave in time to get home to spend a quality evening with your spouse and children. For 30 days say “no” to anything that has the potential to pull you away from your decision to honor your family before your business. As you leave the office, ask God to fill in the gaps at work while you attend to your unique responsibilities at home. I am certain that after 30 days you will see how God provides for you in this process. The blessings of God are never attained by violating the principles of God. Remember, giving up good things for the sake of what’s best is not easy, even when we are convinced it’s right. We must learn to live our lives governed by a greater purpose.
May God bless you as you align your life to His purpose.
President and Chief Revenue Officer