One Sabbath at church many years ago, a retired pastor’s wife asked me to visit her husband. He wasn’t doing well and she knew that he would appreciate a visit from a fellow pastor.

At his bedside we reminisced about ministry as only two ministers could. He didn’t need to explain much with me, I already understood his life through the lens of my own.

Near the end of our conversation, he began to move into some deeper waters. His great aching fear was that he had spent so much time with church members that he had neglected his own son. In fact, he was sure that his ministry had somehow damaged his relationship with him. He enlisted me in an effort to repair, even reverse the damage. I offered to reach out to his son and see what I could do.

As it turned out, his son and I connected. He started coming back to church and his relationship with his father got better. In fact, it got dramatically better before the hard working and faithful pastor went to his rest. I know his last hopes were to have his family with him in heaven where he could make up for lost time with his son and wife.

Even though he was cutting it kind of close I was very glad to see the family grow closer together in those last hours. But I can’t help but wonder why it took so long.

We don’t need to leave our family till the last minute, we can be engaged with them throughout. We don’t have to put them first all the time either. They know we have plenty of people to care about and some we need to minister to. What they do need to know is simple, that we care for them as much if not more than anyone else.

It’s never too late to do a gut check with your family. If they are alive, you can do or say something to let them know they are valuable and wonderful to you.

“Our work for Christ is to begin with the family, in the home….There is no missionary field more important than this…–AH 35.3