Yesterday I was making calls to the members of small group I lead about an upcoming meeting. One of the women was telling me that she wouldn’t be able to make it. Her granddaughter has a program that night. I assured her that was absolutely fine. While we’d miss her, grandma duty was much more important. She said she wasn’t sure about that, but she couldn’t miss this program.
I said, “Family should always come before church. God comes before family, but the church isn’t God.”
She was surprised. She said she’d never heard anyone say that before. I told her that I had had that discussion with many people. God comes before anything else in my life—husband, son, work, anything. But, family comes before church. If I must make a choice between my husband and something at church, my husband wins.
I think far too many well-meaning, active church members put church before family. It can make an unbelieving spouse feel neglected and jealous. It can make children resentful. I am very involved in my church, but it will never take the spot that is rightfully reserved for my family.
Another danger with equating church with God is that it’s easy to substitute being busy at church with having a relationship with Christ. You can be the busiest, most active member of a church and still miss out on God and His blessings. Activity at church should be an outgrowth of the relationship I have with God, not a substitute.