Home Life of Minister to Exemplify Message. -- God designs that in his home
life the teacher of the Bible shall be an exemplification of the truths that he
teaches. What a man is has greater influence than what he says. Piety in the
daily life will give power to the public testimony. Patience, consistency, and
love will make an impression on hearts that sermons fail to reach.
If properly carried on, the training of the children of a minister will
illustrate the lessons he gives in the desk. But if, by the wrong education he
has given his children, a minister shows his incapacity to govern and control,
he needs to learn that God requires him to properly discipline the children
given him before he can do his duty as shepherd of the flock of God.
His First Duty Is to His Children. --The minister's duties lie around him,
nigh and afar off; but his first duty is to his children. He should not become
so engrossed with his outside duties as to neglect the instruction which his
children need. He may look upon his home duties as of lesser importance, but in
reality they lie at the very foundation of the well-being of individuals and of
society. To a large degree the happiness of men and women and the success of the
church depend upon home influence. . . .
Nothing can excuse the minister for neglecting the inner circle for the
larger circle outside. The spiritual welfare of his family comes first. In the
day of final reckoning God will inquire what he did to win to Christ those whom
he took the responsibility of bringing into the world. Great good done for others cannot cancel the debt that he owes to God
to care for his own children.
The Magnitude of the Minister's Influence. --Ministers' children are in some
cases the most neglected children in the world, for the reason that the father
is with them but little, and they are left to choose their own employment and
Great as are the evils of parental unfaithfulness under any circumstances,
they are tenfold greater when they exist in the families of those appointed as
teachers of the people. When these fail to control their own households, they
are, by their wrong example, misleading many. Their guilt is as much greater
than that of others as their position is more responsible.
Wife and Children Best Judge of His Piety. --It is not so much the religion
of the pulpit as the religion of the family that reveals our real character. The
minister's wife, his children, and those who are employed as helpers in his
family are best qualified to judge of his piety. A good man will be a blessing
to his household. Wife, children, and helpers will all be the better for his
Brethren, carry Christ into the family, carry Him into the pulpit, carry Him
with you wherever you go. Then you need not urge upon others the necessity of
appreciating the ministry, for you will bear the heavenly credentials which will
prove to all that you are servants of Christ.
The Minister's Wife, a Helper or a Hindrance? -- When a man accepts the
responsibilities of a minister, he claims to be a mouthpiece for God, to take
the words from the mouth of God and give them to the people. How closely, then,
he should keep at the side of the Great Shepherd; how humbly he should walk before God, keeping self out of sight and
exalting Christ! And how important it is that the character of his wife be after
the Bible pattern, and that his children be in subjection with all gravity!
The wife of a minister of the gospel can be either a most successful helper
and a great blessing to her husband or a hindrance to him in his work. It
depends very much on the wife whether a minister will rise from day to day in
his sphere of usefulness, or whether he will sink to the ordinary level.
I saw that the wives of the ministers should help their husbands in their
labours and be exact and careful what influence they exert, for they are
watched, and more is expected of them than of others. Their dress should be an
example. Their lives and conversation should be an example, savouring of life
rather than of death. I saw that they should take a humble, meek, yet exalted
stand, not having their conversation upon things that do not tend to direct the
mind heavenward. The great inquiry should be: "How can I save my own soul
and be the means of saving others?" I saw that no halfhearted work in this
matter is accepted of God. He wants the whole heart and interest, or He will
have none. Their influence tells, decidedly, unmistakably, in favour of the
truth or against it. They gather with Jesus or scatter abroad. An unsanctified
wife is the greatest curse that a minister can have.
Satan is ever at work to dishearten and lead astray ministers whom God has
chosen to preach the truth. The most effectual way in which he can work is
through home influences, through unconsecrated companions. If he can control
their minds, he can through them the more readily gain access to the husband,
who is labouring in word and doctrine to save souls. . . . Satan has had much to do with
controlling the labours of the ministers through the influence of selfish,
Words of Counsel to Ministers Regarding Family Management. --You have a duty
to do at home which you cannot shun and yet be true to God and to your God-given
trust. . . . The gospel field is the world. You wish to sow the field with
gospel truth, waiting for God to water the seed sown that it may bring forth
fruit. You have entrusted to you a little plot of ground; but your own dooryard
is left to grow up with brambles and thorns, while you are engaged in weeding
others' gardens. This is not a small work, but one of great moment. You are
preaching the gospel to others; practice it yourself at home.
Until you can be united in the work of properly disciplining your child, let
the wife remain with her child away from the scene of her husband's labours; for
no example of lax, loose discipline should be given to the church of God.
I have known many ministers who were unwise enough to travel about, taking
with them an unruly child. Their labours in the pulpit were counteracted by the
unlovely tempers manifested by their children.
Take an Interest in Others' Children. --Your interest should not be swallowed
up in your own family to the exclusion of others. If you share the hospitalities
of your brethren, they may reasonably expect something in return. Identify your
interests with those of parents and children, and seek to instruct and bless.
Sanctify yourself to the work of God, and be a blessing to those who entertain
you, conversing with parents and in no case overlooking the children. Do not feel that your own little one is more
precious in the sight of God than other children.
An Appeal to a Minister's Wayward Son. --Your father is a minister of the
gospel, and Satan works most zealously to lead the children of ministers to
dishonour their parents. If possible he will bring them into captivity to his
will and imbue them with his evil propensities. Will you allow Satan to work
through you to destroy the hope and comfort of your parents? Will they be
obliged to look upon you with continual sadness because you give yourself into
Satan's control? Will you leave them to the discouragement of thinking that they
have brought up children who refuse to be instructed by them, who follow their
own inclinations whatever happens? . . .
You have good impulses, and you awaken hope and expectation in the minds of
your parents; but, so far, you have been powerless to resist temptation, and
Satan exults in your readiness to do just as he wills. Often you make statements
which inspire your parents with hope, but just as often you fail because you
will not resist the enemy. You cannot know how it pains your father and mother
when you are found on Satan's side. Many times you say, "I cannot do
this," and "I cannot do that," when you know that the things you
say you cannot do are right for you to do. You can fight against the enemy, not
in your own strength, but in the strength God is ever ready to give you.
Trusting in His word, you will never say, "I can't." . . .
I appeal to you in the name of the Lord to turn before it is too late.
Because you are the son of parents who are co-workers with God, you are supposed
to be a well-disposed boy; but often, by your waywardness, you dishonour your
father and mother and counteract the work they are seeking to do. Has not your mother sufficient to oppress and crush
her spirits without your waywardness? Will you still pursue such a course of
action that your father's heart will be weighed down with grief? Is it a
pleasure for you to have all heaven looking upon you with displeasure? Is it a
satisfaction for you to place yourself in the ranks of the enemy, to be ordered
and controlled by him?
Oh, that now, while it is called today, you would turn to the Lord! Your
every deed is making you either better or worse. If your actions are on Satan's
side, they leave behind them an influence that continues to work its baleful
results. Only the pure, the clean, and the holy can enter the city of God,
"To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts," but turn
to the Lord, that the path you travel may not leave desolation in its track.
Minister to Treat Children With Kindness and Courtesy. --Let the kindness and
courtesy of the minister be seen in his treatment of children. He should ever
bear in mind that they are miniature men and women, younger members of the
Lord's family. These may be very near and dear to the Master and, if properly
instructed and disciplined, will do service for Him, even in their youth. Christ
is grieved with every harsh, severe, and inconsiderate word spoken to children.
Their rights are not always respected, and they are frequently treated as though
they had not an individual character which needs to be properly developed that
it may not be warped and the purpose of God in their lives prove a failure.
Let the church take a special care of the lambs of the flock, exerting every
influence in their power to win the love of the children and to bind them to the truth. Ministers and church
members should second the efforts of parents to lead the children into safe
paths. The Lord is calling for the youth, for He would make them His helpers to
do good service under His banner.
An Effectual Sermon on Godliness. --The minister should instruct the people
upon the government of children, and his own children should be examples of
There should exist in the minister's family a unity that will preach an
effectual sermon on practical godliness. As the minister and his wife faithfully
do their duty in the home, restraining, correcting, advising, counselling,
guiding, they are becoming better fitted to labour in the church and are
multiplying agencies for the accomplishment of God's work outside the home. The
members of the family become members of the family above and are a power for
good, exerting a far-reaching influence.