I was born into the Burdine family. I am also a member of my mother’s family which are Sorrells. 33 years ago I became a member of two other families – Judy’s father is a Prichard and her mother was a Sears. Being a part of 4 separate families is a great blessing but it makes for some busy holidays. This Fall marks 39 years ago that I became part of another family. October 1975 I was born into the Family Of God.
We all have our physical (or biological) families. Then we who are born into the family of God are a part of a spiritual family. Jesus also had His earthly & spiritual families. In one situation, He taught about His physical family and His spiritual family.
There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. (Mark 3:31-35)
These would be startling words in any culture, but in Hebrew culture, where the family was so sacred, they were shocking! What did Jesus mean?
Let me share with you 3 surprising truths about family from Jesus’ statement.
1. Jesus’ true family is not bound by blood, but by a commitment to do God’s will.
Anyone can be part of God’s family. Though He was a Jew, any nationality or race can be a part of His forever family. Obedience does not begin a relationship with God (faith does that), but obedience is a sign of it. Obedience is the key to experiencing ‘family’ with God. In addition, when we make our wills His will, we experience a dynamic relationship with others who are living in submission to Him. Obedience is the key to blessing in God’s family.
2. Jesus’ true family is superior to any human family.
Family ties end at death (unless you are part of Jesus’ spiritual family). Jesus’ family is eternal. It is also far more satisfying and far more rewarding than any earthly relationship. Those who are in His spiritual family are far more dear to Jesus than His human family.
The family today is in trouble. In a valiant effort to stem the tide, many have made the family everything. Every moment of every day, every involvement, every commitment, every engagement is measured and judged by the question, ‘How will this benefit my family?’ While this is commendable, it can degenerate into idolatry. Every earthly loyalty, if it is made central, becomes idolatry, and all idolatries eventually destroy their worshipers. What can we do to preserve and elevate our families? The answer begins with the family putting love and obedience to Christ above everything else. Rather than choosing church over family, why not choose both? Take your family to Church as often as you can.
3. Church is to be like a family and the family is to be like Church.
The two are interlinked. Both express the two greatest needs in our society. We have lost the family feeling in the church and family has lost the sense of being a spiritual headquarters for its members. The family is important for the church and the church is important for the family. As goes the family, so goes the church. The family that strays from church, will soon stray from one another.
I read a news story that reminds me that while many people hunger for family closeness, we often miss opportunities that stand immediately before us.
Tammy Harris of Roanoke, Virginia, began searching for her biological mother when she turned 21. A year of searching proved fruitless. Tammy did not realize, however, that her mother, Joyce Schultz, had been searching for her for 20 years–the same Joyce Schultz who worked alongside her at the same convenience store. When Joyce overheard Tammy speaking with another coworker about her search for her biological mother, Joyce’s ears perked. The two compared stories and birth certificates and realized they were, indeed, mother and daughter, “We held on for the longest time,” Tammy said. “It was the best day of my life.”
Christians often sit side by side in the church pews, week after week, and fail to realize the depth of relationship they share in Jesus Christ.
How has your church been a family to you?