Should a man leave his family for a good cause?
By Pastor Steve Van Nattan

As a pastor, I have become very cautious about evangelists and missionaries who travel about alone.  Why?  Answer:  I tried it once, and it was a disaster.  I went on a six week itinerary from Michigan to California once while we were on furlough during the 1970s.  I thought it would solve a problem-- our baby son screamed all the time on such a trip to Pennsylvania and nearly drove us and everyone else mad.

The trip to California started out OK, but I loaded the days and nights with as many meetings as I could.  I figured that since I was alone, I should be able to do more for the Lord.  That reasoning backfired.  Pastors thought the same thing and loaded me up heavy.  

About week number 5, I was in Los Angeles, and I was to be a the annual missionary conference at the Christian college I had attended.  I really looked forpiano coversd to this.  But, I had been having chest pains, and I was reacting violently to L.A. smog and pollen.  I was such a mess that I called a doctor and asked what he thought.  Answer:  You are having problems from being separated from your wife and working too hard.  Now, I have never thought of myself as a person who would ever work too hard-- not hard enough maybe, not never too hard.

I will NEVER again willingly leave my wife behind to do a great thing for the Lord.

another thing can go wrong when a man imagines he should leave his wife and family to do God a big favor.  He can fall into sexual sin.  All of us men NEED our wife with us for accountability.  You will now get all mushy and pious with me and tell me that a really godly man does not need his wife with him to stay away from lust.  You are a fool too.

1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Paul, in the context, was talking about fasting from sexual activity in marriage.  He does NOT allow the husband and wife to leave each other and go wandering about.  This is done together in the home.  Then, after a brief fast, they are ORDERED to return to satisfy each other sexually.

1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Godly men and women avoid fornication by getting married and staying together.

1 Corinthians 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

This is why some Bible teachers think Paul took his wife with him.  At least Peter did.  Peter was not holy enough and bold enough to do without his wife.  Are you greater than Peter?  Is your favorite evangelist greater than Peter?

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Billy Sunday took his wife along with him on preaching itineraries, but he NEVER took his kids.  Virtually ALL of Billy Sunday's kids turned into drunks and Atheists.  Mark it down preacher-- you go off doing God a big favor and preaching in churches far and wide, and your kids will be messed up.  You can tell me they understand and are turning out OK, but I won't believe you.  You raise up a child AT HOME.  I have seen families which all traveled in some ministry of evangelism and music.  There is still a risk of turning the kids into a bunch of brat prima donas who think the Lord's Church is a place to fleece sheep and free load.  But, you sure have a lot better chance to raise the kids right if they are at least with you as you wander about.

I have seen some real jerks roaming about the country and the world claiming God appointed them to preach the Gospel.  I would guess that 90% of these jerks are away from Momma and the kids.  They lack the lady of grace whom God gave them to kind of slow them down when they are about to go over the edge.  These also are the ones who end up in bed with some in-house Christian whore and go down in flames.

Because of this situation, I have not had an evangelist into a pulpit I have been responsible for in over 15 years.  There just are not many evangelists who are godly men and in control of themselves in the Holy Ghost.