I would highly recommend Andy Stanley’s “When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family” (previously released as “Choosing to Cheat”). I was provided a copy of the book in a special re-release directly from Multnomah Books for review purposes. You can pre-order a paperback copy for under $11 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/When-Work-Family-Collide-Cheating/dp/1601423799/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326858518&sr=8-1) or directly from the publisher at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601423795.
In his chapter titled “Collision Course,” Stanley suggests, “In God’s original plan there was no conflict between work and family. But when sin entered the world, conflict was introduced into both environments. Man would henceforth struggle at work and women would fel the pain of childbirth. And men and women would struggle in their relationship with one another” (23).
The Bible reads, “To the woman he said, “‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be fort your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ And to Adam he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it,’cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return'” (Genesis 3:16-19, ESV).
The author goes on to propose, “When confronted with our misappropriation of time and affection, we’re all quick to assure our accusers that we do, in fact, love our families. We talk about what we wish we could do, what we’ve intended to do, and what we plan to do in the future. We credit ourselves with good intentions…You may have even taken the ‘good intention alibi’ into the spiritual realm…you are expecting God to do your job for you [family] while you do a job for somebody else [career], essentially that prayer reflects the arrangement you have with God…We are assuming that God could not just as easily fill the void at work as he could the void at home…we are asking God to fill a gap that only we can fill while we scurry off to do a job that a thousand other people could do” (27-29).
I have always appreciated Stanley’s practical steps to becoming a better visionary and communicator – both publicly and prayerfully. I still daily pray over my two boys (and students from our church) – I have a different prayer for my two daughters – a prayer that I first read about from “Next Generation Leader.” I ask that God would give them wisdom and courage – that they would know what is right and do what is right. But in “Collision,” Stanley writes, “When our kids were small, we were more specific. At least twice a week at bedtime, I would ask each of them this series of questions:
* Is everything okay in your heart?
* Did anyone hurt your feelings today?
* Are you made at anyone?
* Did anyone break a promise to you?
* Is there anything I can do for you?” (52).
I am eternally grateful for many men who have mentored me on the importance of valuing both family and career – and ultimately keeping the lordship of Christ at the center of all of it. First, there is my own father. My Dad spend much of my first couple of years traveling. He saw the effect that it was having on our family and thus left a higher-paying construction job for one on a nuclear reservation that took no time being on the road. He has always worked hard on the site – and equally hard in spending time with us once he returned home (I will never forget our endless free-throw tournaments on the driveway).
Then there is my father-in-law. He showed me how to pastor a church AND pastor his family. He disciples his children with as much intention and passion as he does those in his small group. He reminds me that the Mission of God begins at home.
And finally, there is my lead pastor. Jana and I knew that Maltby would be where we were supposed to be during the interview process. Pastor David mentioned the high value he placed on his family. He said that there might be moments that he will receive a call on his day off and that he will not take it because he is currently at “an appointment.” The appointment might very well be his son’s baseball game. After six years of working alongside him, I have seen a man who has raised his family to love the church as much as he does.
I only want to be better. I want my children, even at an early age, to understand what it means to follow Christ on the mission. I don’t want them to settle for being well-behaved. I don’t want them to focus just on being safe and stable (though I will do my best to protect, provide, and guide for them). No, I want them to know that wherever they are, whatever they are doing, whomever they are with, and whatever they have to give – should and could be used to share and show the gospel. I can’t wait to see them worship. I can’t wait to see them study. I can’t wait to see them serve. And I am committed to being there with them through it all.
Official Book Description: Is Your Occupation Also Your Preoccupation? Let’s face it. With all the demands of the workplace and all the details of a family it’s only a matter of time before one bumps into the other. And many of us end up cheating our families when the commitments of both collide. In this practical book, Andy Stanley will help you…
• Establish priorities and boundaries to protect what you value most.
• Learn the difference between saying your family is your priority and actually making them your priority.
• Discover tested strategies for easing tensions at home and at work.
Watch as this powerful book transforms your life from time-crunching craziness to life-changing success. This leadership resource also includes a four-week discussion guide.
Official Author Biography: Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one campus to five in the Atlanta area and has helped plant over thirty strategic partner churches globally. Each Sunday, more than twenty-five thousand people attend worship services at one of North Point Ministries’ five campuses. Andy’s books include Enemies of the Heart, The Next Generation Leader, How Good is Good Enough? and many more. He lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife, Sandra, and their children.