Spokesman Club, YOU, home Bible studies, Camp fire Girls, Bible bowls, Boy Scouts, PTA! Have you ever been overwhelmed by activities and yet felt guilty when turning down service opportunities or invitations? Fund raisers, YOU Bible studies, Church family nights, softball, basketball or volleyball leagues; Church camp-outs and potlucks all worthy of our time and energies. In addition, here in Pasadena, AICF concerts, Ambassador College and Imperial School activities, departmental and college social functions, chorale concerts, departmental sports, college recreation classes, evening classes for adults! Life can gel complicated. Even our children experience scheduling conflicts. A Boy Scout outing and a YOU basketball playoff fall on the same weekend. What should Johnny? In many of our homes, probably at least one night a week and maybe more, the family scatters in all directions. Dad is off to Spokesman Club, while Mom, on her way to a PTA meeting, drops off Johnny at Boy Scouts, and Jimmy and Susie at YOU basketball and cheerleading practices. And, on many other evenings, at least one or another family member is always absent. Does this describe your family? All of these activities may be good and some even necessary, but if you're not careful, you'll find you have no time for each other. God meant for life to be exciting and interesting for His children, but He didn't mean it to be a rat race. A home was designed to be a haven for the family — the ideal place to learn vital lessons, spiritual and physical, impossible to learn anywhere else. And time is so short. Anyone who has older teenagers can tell you that the 18 to 20 some years you have together goes by all too fast. "Time is money," Benjamin Franklin said. He was speaking from an economical viewpoint, but let's carry the analogy a little further. Think about your children individually. How much time have you invested in each? How many hours have you spent in family Bible study? How many in family outings? How many hours helping with homework? Or encouraging and developing fledgling talents? How much time teaching that particular child the value of work? How many hours of personal, concerned counsel? What about establishing good habits of grammar, cleanliness, organization, money management? The list could go on and on. The profits of a successful life that your child eventually will gain are directly proportionate to the investment expended. How important is your child's success in life to you? Not for selfish reasons, but because you desire what's best for him or her? Or have you been influenced by this world's reasoning far more than you would like to admit? Again, time is limited, so "I must use every bit of spare time available to, first of all, develop my own talents, pursue my own interests, climb the ladder of personal achievement, whether in my job, my community or my church. After all, I must be sure I have qualified for a high position in God's Kingdom." If this is the way you live, you may be one of those sacrificing your marriage and children for personal gain. Don't blame God if you are. God requires some of our time all right, but not all. God is organized (I Corinthians 14:33), and He expects us to use wisdom in organizing our own lives. Some of us literally don't have time to be married and have children. We're just too busy. But, unfortunately for our families, we are married, and we do have children. Why not list all the activities you are involved in. Divide them under several headings: those you alone are involved in, those you and your mate are involved in together, those your mate is involved in alone, those your children are involved in individually, and those the whole family, or at least several members, are involved in as a unit. Then, for one week, note by each entry the time spent. Don't list the family sitting in front of the television as family togetherness. Don't list normal sleep time, but do list time spent together around the table at meals. Don't list your regular work time, but list overtime work and time spent in prayer and Bible study. (This list can also help you determine how much attention you give your Maker.) If you find your list a bit heavy in the personal activity columns, either yours, your mate's or your children's, try to cross over in some areas. If your children are of the ages to be involved in YOU or Scouts or similar activities, get involved too. Be at the games or outings, supporting your children. Supply transportation, be a chaperon, whatever you can do. If you must work overtime, why not use part of that extra money for a family outing. If you're spending 30 minutes or an hour, daily in personal Bible study and equal time in personal prayer, maybe 20 or 30 minutes of that time could be spent in family Bible study and prayer. It's yours and my responsibility as parents to guide and encourage each family member and the family as a whole toward God's Kingdom. It wouldn't be satisfying to be the only member of your family to make it into God's Kingdom. Especially knowing you had neglected investing the time and energy necessary to encourage your mate and children toward that goal. Church and community activities are important. Our families should be involved in them, but not overwhelmed by them. And such activities, no matter how worthwhile, should never be used as justification for ignoring our responsibilities as parents. The God family is our example. God the Father and Christ the Elder Brother are totally involved with their family. They do their Work through the Mother, the Church. Begotten brothers and sisters get the complete attention of their Parents In fact, the whole plan of God revolves around His begotten children. Creating righteous, spiritual character in His children until they are changed into spirit beings like Himself is the supreme masterpiece of His creative genius. To Him there's nothing more important! Herbert W. Armstrong's whole life has been dedicated toward that goal. Your ministers have dedicated their lives to serve and encourage you toward that same goal. How well are you doing in your own family?