1 Samuel 2:29
“Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?”
The verse above tells a reoccurring story that often happens in the ministry. Eli was the anointed priest, which means that his sons by God’s law were to take over the priesthood when he died. However, Eli failed to make his sons live according to God’s Word. God was furious at Eli because he honored his sons above God. Instead of correcting his sons when they did wrong, he chose to allow them to continue doing wrong because they were his family. This act led to God taking the priesthood from Eli’s family and giving it to Samuel.
Eli’s story reminds me of many pastors who treat the church they pastor as the family business. Before you start criticizing or attacking me, I am a preacher’s child as well. Throughout my ministry, I have watched many preachers promote their children to a position, allow their children to get away with things, and pander to the wants of their grown children to the hurt of God’s church.
Let me make this very clear; the local church is not the family business; rather, the local church is God’s business. I am tired of preachers immediately running to their children’s defense because they “live in a glass house.” Pastor, let me be honest with you; the worst thing you can do is change things because your children run to you. The glass house excuse is nothing more than Satan’s ploy to give your children an excuse to do wrong. If a pastor stopped treating the church as the family business, they would understand that it doesn’t matter if their children are inconvenienced, they must do and live according to how all people are expected to live.
My advice to every pastor and preacher is to stop using God’s church as the family business. Realize that you are simply a steward of God’s church. God holds you accountable for how you run it. Don’t treat your children better or worse than you would anyone else. Don’t promote your children to positions in the church because they are your children; promote them to positions because it’s what God wants.
It was said about Samuel that the people knew that he was the established prophet of the LORD. They knew he was the established prophet for three reasons. First, he lived his life in a discreet manner. No one questioned Samuel being promoted because his life earned the position. Second, his willingness to do the hard thing when it was right. Samuel was willing to look Eli in the face and tell him he was wrong and that the LORD was going to kill him. If someone is not willing to do right when it is hard, they shouldn’t hold ministry positions because there are times when the ministry requires you to do the hard thing. Third, Samuel had an extreme love for God’s Word. The Scriptures say that he let none of God’s Words “fall to the ground.” When a person has this much love for God’s Word, the other two areas will naturally occur.
This devotional is in no way an attempt to attack any preacher, but it is a caution to every preacher not to treat the church as the family business. Preacher, don’t hype your children to prove they deserve a position. Let God do the promoting while you pray for them and cheer them along to do what is right. When God promotes them to a position, everyone will know it is right without you having to do one thing to persuade them.