Pandemics and Priorities
If there is one positive thing that comes out of this pandemic, it will be that I have been able to reconnect with my family in a way I would not have been able, had life stayed ‘normal.’
Since Carolyn and I have been working (mostly) from home, we have been able to get up sit and drink our coffee at a pace that promotes conversation with the girls without having to rush off to school or the office. We have taken advantage of the flexible schedule to Face Time daily with our families who live in other parts of the country.
We have eaten all our meals together, visited the Starbucks drive through in the afternoon, spent time playing outside and ending each day with a family walk and a ‘before bed board game.’ I can honestly say that I have spent more time in the past month with my wife and kids, then I had ever before. Don’t get me wrong, we still spend our fair share of time working but our pace and presence is very different. Honestly, it’s been great. But that’s not how this season of life started for me.
When this all started, I worked way more that I ought to have. I spent significant time learning how to record and edit videos to post online for my church, redefining and finding new ways to track stats for our head office, figuring out how to keep my staff safe while still meeting the needs of our Family Services clients, dealing with the grief of cancelling worship services, and carrying the burden of being a ‘sheepless shepherd.’ I stressed and asked myself, “How do I lead when there is no one to lead? How can I be a pastor to my people when I’m stuck at home?” I really struggled during those early days.
I share this because God has redeemed all those concerns and turned this pandemic into a season of personal refreshment and renewal.
In her message this past Sunday, Carolyn shared how prayer changes our perspective, and she’s right. In the midst of those tough days in mid-March, I found myself praying and reading Scripture, and was directed to a passage in First Timothy. What struck me was not only the passage, but the commentary associated with it. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
John Maxwell, renown leadership expert writes, “leadership starts at home.” He goes on to say, “leadership works best when it is prioritized as follows:
1. I am first a person. I must prioritize my relationship with God.
2. Second, I am a partner. I must prioritize my relationship with my spouse.
3. Third, I am a parent. I must prioritize my relationship with my children.”
4. Fourth, I am a pastor. I must prioritize my relationship with my ministry.”
In this light, I redefined my personal expectation and priorities, ensuring that they reflected this biblical truth represented in Timothy and expounded upon by Maxwell. And things changed… or rather, I changed. And it was for the better.
I guess the ultimate question is, “how are things going for you during this season of pandemic?” Is this season full of panic, worry or stress? I know what that’s like, and it’s not how God intends us to live. So, let’s come to Him in prayer. Let’s seek a new perspective. Let’s realign our priorities with Scripture in accordance with God’s will. Trust me – it’s way better.