I couldn’t give an accurate count of the number of men, through the years, who have blamed their jobs for their not being able to have a daily time in Bible reading and prayer before work. They would say they had to be to work early, stay late, or both. They had to travel, or the job took all of their mental and emotional focus. There was always some “valid” reason why they didn’t have time for their own personal Bible reading and prayer time.
It seemed like the same story was given when it came to not having time for family Bible reading and prayer in the evenings. Dad’s job seemed to be the primary “good” reason for him not leading his family in Bible reading and prayer. There appears to be a Biblical example for these types of statements.
In Genesis 3:12, when Adam was confronted with a wrong choice, he said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Here, the one God had given Adam to care for and protect is the one on whom Adam is blaming his bad decision. A job, which is not much more than a vehicle to provide for the physical needs of the family, becomes the reason why the spiritual needs of the family aren’t being met.
We would do well to remember Jesus’ dialog with Peter in John 21. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).
Brothers, do we confess to love Jesus? If so, reread the section above. What did Jesus tell us to do if we love Him? Didn’t He indirectly tell us to feed the lambs and the sheep? We are shepherds of the flock that He has given us. Jesus is telling us to feed His sheep that He has entrusted to our care. Could Jesus have been instructing Peter to make sure that the flock was receiving physical food? If so, then it would make the “job excuse” a valid reason, but that isn’t the emphasis as we can see in Acts when Peter began his ministry. Peter’s mission was preaching – not distributing food. When the apostles were accused of neglecting the widows in Acts 6:2-4, they appointed deacons so they would not slight the teaching of God’s Word – spiritual feeding.
Is your family starving to death before your eyes – spiritually starving, that is – because you aren’t feeding them? Who will be to blame for that? No, we can’t blame our boss or someone else. The shepherd is responsible for the condition of his flock. May we be the men whom God has called us to be and feed our flocks.