October 6, 1999

God guides family business through change

Family Counselor

Q___My father recently had a heart attack. Fortunately, the prognosis is good, but the turn of events has brought to a head unresolved issues in our family. We have a family business that several of us children have a part in running. All of us are in agreement that it is time for Dad to step back and let more responsibility fall on us. Dad is refusing, even in his present state of health, to consider a change in the leadership of the company.

A___Christian families must "be about (our) Father's business" and also deal with earthly business positively. The Apostle Paul made a strong statement in 2 Timothy 1:7: "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Your family needs all three of those gifts.
___* Power. You must believe there is a solution for this problem. Grab hold of the promise that God's power is available for just such real-life situations, and pray for that power, the power of the Holy Spirit that Luke talks about in his Gospel. "How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" You need such power!
___* Love. Your dad has seen his business as his own "baby," so now it is hard for him to believe anyone else will care for it the way he has. Perhaps you could encourage a family gathering and share memories about the business. Reflect on being a part of it as well as your dreams for its future. Your dad needs to see that you care deeply about what he has given his life energy to. And he needs to hear you and the others affirm your respect and love for him.
___All of us have a deep need to be loved and to be needed. Talk together about the key role you see him having even after he turns over the major responsibilities to the next generation. Realize how painful letting go can be for him, and be patient.
___* Self-discipline. Families often avoid delicate subjects because they do not trust themselves. They hesitate to "rock the boat," even on a stormy sea. Hence, crucial decisions go unmade because family members are afraid of what will happen if they try to deal with challenges that are potentially disruptive.
___Jesus said, "By this will men know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another." You must choose carefully your responses, and you must trust that God will give each of you the self-control to work through this transition, one decision at a time.


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