I received a note from a friend who has just started a new business. Like all new ventures, it will require of my friend and his wife a large commitment of time, energy and personal resources. But at the same time, my friend feels called to serve his church by discipling others and doing some occasional preaching. Is there a conflict here? Does he abort the new venture before it gets started? "God's Word is my passion and I want to study the Scriptures and preach it to the church. Please give me some advice on how I can manage my time so I can do both effectively." Here is what I wrote back:
I think the short-term answer is not to try and do it all. That's a recipe for burnout. If you prayed and God answered by giving you this new business, then I think faithfulness requires that you throw yourself into it body, soul and spirit. It's a mistake to think of life as being either "serving in business" or "serving the Lord" because we know that you can serve the Lord through your business. Starting any new business is so demanding, so consuming, so all-encompassing, and so uncertain that it is best to scale back on other things so you can throw yourself 100% into this new endeavor.
I know you want to teach and preach and disciple others. You should and you must and you will. No doubt about it. But if you think of your life as a marathon and not as a 100-yard dash, then pacing yourself is all important. We have both seen guys mess up and get blown away because they tried to do too much, too soon. If I were your pastor, I would smile and say, "If God has called you into this new business, give it all you have and know that what you give to that will be counted as your service to the Lord."
God may open huge new doors for you (I think he will) through this endeavor and allow you to reach even more people in the future than you have in the past. The one thing you don't want is a divided heart—trying to disciple here, start a business there, preach over here, and trying desperately to balance it all. If you and your wife have been led by the Lord into this new venture, give it all you have for the moment. Hold nothing back and count every hour as your gift to the Lord. Believe that and then live that way. Does that mean you might have to cut back temporarily on some other commitments? Yes, but it's only temporary. I'm not saying slow down everything else forever. But don't make the mistake of trying to do everything at full throttle at the same time.
I'm praying that you both will have complete peace. The Lord knows your heart. And I think your brothers and sisters in the Lord know it too. Trust him to lead you and then give this new venture all you've got and say, "This too is part of my service for my Lord."
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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