How can I balance my family responsibilities with discipleship?

How can discipleship (Luke 14:26) be reconciled with family responsibilities?

The God-breathed teachings of a perfectly wise God cannot be contradictory (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5; Jude 25). God never gives conflicting responsibilities.

The Lord’s disciples can have no higher claim than His. The natural claims of possessions, family, and even life itself (Luke 14:26; 18:29) cannot rival total obedience to Him. Placing limits on our obedience to Christ disqualifies us from discipleship.

The Lord Himself attended to family responsibilities. If, during the Lord’s public ministry, Joseph’s absence indicates that he had died, this explains the Lord’s leadership in moving his family home to Capernaum (Matthew 4:13; Mark 6:3). The first 9 chapters of Mark find the Lord Jesus returning to His home during His journeys of service. Even in His passion, the Lord fulfilled His responsibility to His mother (John 19: 26, 27). As the Lord entered into Abraham’s concerns for his family (Genesis 17:18, 20), so, in the days of His flesh, He shared Peter’s family concerns (Mark 1:29-31).

Those who follow the Lord are responsible both for full commitment to the service He chooses for them and also for full commitment to family responsibilities. This may mean finding creative ways to keep in contact with each in the family, spend times together, and share in the joys of serving the Master. It likely requires a heightened sensitivity to the difference between divinely entrusted service and self-assumed service.

D. Oliver