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First Things First

Jessalyn Hutto

My husband has wanted to be a pastor since his salvation. He loves the Word of God and believes in its power to transform lives. The one thing he feels called to do, the one thing he desires to do is minister to the people of God through the proclaimation of this most important resource.

This is the man I fell in love with. The young, passionate, driven seminary hopeful who planned to be in a pastorate position within about four years of beginning seminary. This is still the same man who holds my heart today, but much to our surprise our lofty goals have not come to fruition.

You see, a year into seminary we were blessed beyond measure to become parents. There we were, an already poor seminary couple, searching for a job that would allow me to stay home with our precious little boy and pay for seminary and be flexible enough to allow Richard to actually attend those seminary classes. It turns out such a position is a rare find indeed.

The past three and a half years have been a procession of new jobs, new schools, new cities, new apartments, repeat, repeat, repeat. Trying to find the perfect fit in order to accomplish our goals has been a challenge to say the least. Time and again we have had to evaluate our priorities and motives to make sure that we are not worshiping a goal rather than the God we adore.

Richard, who has always been a devoted husband and father has had to continually place his dreams of finishing seminary and becoming a pastor on the alter of God’s providence. He has had to sacrifice his desires for his God-given responsibility to provide for his family and trust in the gracious will of our Lord.

As time passes his longing to be in the ministry full time has not lessened, but opportunities to progress through seminary have inched along at a snail’s pace. Bills must be paid, health insurance must be secured, and little mouths must be fed. All the while there is ministry to be done in our local church, the church where God has planted us.

All of this has led us to purposefully seek the Lord’s will for our family. After all, it’s not that complicated is it? God lays out our priorities pretty clearly in his Word and beyond that we have great freedom in how we walk in obedience. We are free (within the bounds of scripture) to pursue our desires, our dreams, our passions and see whether the Lord blesses the path we choose or leads us down another road altogether. In the end it is our relationship to the Lord and how we manifest that relationship in our lives that truly matters, not what title you have before your name or what degree you are able to acquire.

One late night as we honestly and brokenly talked through our goals as a family, we found ourselves writing out a mission statement to live by. We took all the things we knew were the most important, the things we care about above all else, and packed them into one sentence to help remind us that no matter what job, what city, what home we found ourselves in, as long as we were faithful to our mission we could be content and even joyful.

So what have we chosen to focus on as a family? What have we chosen to focus on personally as we seek to live out our faith? I want to share our mission statement with you in the hope that it may encourage you to truly focus on the things that matter, the things that are important in God’s eyes.

Our Family Mission Statement:

As we joyfully live in the abundant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will seek to daily know the Lord fullyserve the Lord faithfully, and proclaim the Lord fervently.

May this be the cry of all our hearts and the path that we walk for the rest of our days. May we trust the Lord to bring about this kind of obedience and joy throughout every circumstance, trial, and blessing for his glory and our good.