Building—and protecting—your home base is your greatest ministry
Someone once said that the darkest place of any lighthouse is always at its base. The same can be said of our families. A pastor or Christian leader can shine a radiant beam out to the horizons, warning passing ships of dangerous waters ... while their own unmaintained plumbing floods the home.
At the core of who I am as a leader is the health and closeness of my family. And so it is for you, my friend. Fight for it. Fight as fiercely as Nehemiah urged his countrymen to fight when the enemies of God and Israel sought to destroy the work of rebuilding the nation (see Neh. 4:14).
One day after years of ministry with a wonderful congregation, I will say my goodbyes, pack my bags and, with many tears, walk out of the church. But when I walk out of the church, there’s only one place I can walk into: family.
If you miss building that home base, you will have nowhere to go when your ministry days are over. You’ll arrive back on your doorstep with your boxes of books and notes, and you’ll have nothing to walk into—except shards of yesterday’s mistake of putting your job, ministry or career ahead of everything else. Restore the pre-eminence of the family early on. Too many have sacrificed marital harmony and family on the altar of success. It’s not worth it.
Here’s a fact—not a judgment, mind you. Just a fact of life. Although everyone in our great church loves the Cordeiro family, I have come to realize that nobody is fighting for my family. That’s my job, the task God has given to me. Others may fight for my time and energy, but no one will fight for my family.
My greatest ministry will be in the next generation. There came a point in David’s life when he started storing gold and building materials so that his boy Solomon would have a free hand in building the Lord’s temple. He had to switch his thinking when his life crossed the halfway point. He had to coach more and do less. His greatest contribution would be leading others to their greatest potential rather than accomplishing more personally. Of course he would still achieve much more, but he would soon come to grips with his humanity.
Now as a grandparent, I’m finding that truth coming to bear on my life in ever-increasing ways. My responsibility doesn’t end where my empty nest begins. It continues. It must carry on into the generation of my grandchildren. I am not done yet!
Deuteronomy 4:9 tells us to “be very careful not to forget the things you have seen God do for you. Keep reminding yourselves, and tell your children and grandchildrentheir children. It’s a biblical mandate. My influence cannot be apart from them; it must be inclusive of them, and that inclusion is intentional. as well” (CEV, emphasis mine). I’ve chosen to do this by traveling to where my children are and spending time with them and
I have one son in Hawaii and two daughters in Oregon. In the days ahead I’ll do my best to spend a portion of my time in both of those places in the days ahead. My wife and I could live anywhere we choose to, but we’ve chosen to live where our family resides. It’s not a decision based on geography, economics, landscape or weather (although you can’t beat Hawaii for weather). Now, some see me spending time in the Northwest and choose to paint it with dark colors. There will always be those who will try to make your decisions for you and judge your lifestyle as less than righteous. I will absorb all such criticism, and so must you.
Fight for your family. If you don’t, no one else will.
Wayne Cordeiro is founder and senior pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii.