After a few days away from my family, I gain a clearer perspective. Some years ago, I heard Andy Stanley talk about the challenges facing those who work for churches. He passionately encouraged us to prepare for the opportunities to 'cheat the church', because the reality of ministry is that most often, we cheat our families.
Too many evening meetings. Too many preoccupied minds. Too many car rides filled with long phone conversations.
In my case, I drop the ball on basic family responsibilities. The house is cluttered and unclean. Meals become anything tossed on the table that hasn't passed the "best if used by" date. We eat pizza, pizza. And more pizza.
Sunday night, we had breakfast for dinner. That's a standard operational procedure for us. Bacon, eggs, yum.
Monday night, chicken strips with homemade gravy and rice. And biscuit. Unfortunately, we forgot to cook a vegetable. But whatever - it was homemade, hot and tasty, and we managed to eat before small group started arriving.
Tuesday night, steak stir-fry. Made up for the missing Monday vegetables. Egg rolls.
And family - those of us that were home at the time - sitting together at the table, sharing the meal. I hate that I often feel as if I am cheating the church just because I carved out time to prepare dinner - but I do. Which makes me think I am just a tad bit unbalanced.
DAVID (looking at his egg roll): What's in this?
ME (trying to avoid the word 'vegetable'): Just stuff. It's good. You'll like it.
DAVID: But what do they put in egg rolls? What is it?
ME: Sometimes meat. Sometimes vegetables. Just stuff. It's crunchy. You'll like it.
DAVID (quite exasperated): But what is in it? I need the facts!
The facts are this: there's nothing better than the time we spend together, over dinner, talking. Seeing. Being a family. I am grateful for this.