Family. I am thankful to have a family. They have…

Family.

I am thankful to have a family. They have all added and provided so much for me throughout my life. Lessons learned, experiences shared, memories made. As you grow you share qualities with each other which so often you adopt as your own mannerisms. I can remember the first time I sat a certain way or spoke a particular phrase which reminded me of something my father did in the same way. We have all heard the expression “I’m turning into my mother/father.” Often we will look at this startling revelation as a negative quality but at the same time we adopt the characteristic as our own without a fight. We have good and bad memories of our family and exemplify positive and negative attributes from our parents and siblings. Much of this is the basic make up of who we are as an adult.

For those fortunate to have had a strong family system in place during their childhood, a family means a great deal. For those without the “ideal” situation, to belong to a family is a special desire. A family is designed to support, teach, encourage, correct, mourn, and rejoice together.

As I mentioned above, I am thankful for my family. As of late, my gratitude for this family has shifted from my “earthly” family to my Christian family. The most important thing in my life is no longer the same as my earthly family. The things I want to spend my day talking about are no longer the same as my earthly family. The things I live for are no longer the same as my earthly family. The things that shape my morals, standards, and values are no longer the same as my earthly family.

Sadly, many people share this situation in common. Our parents, siblings, spouses and extended families are not like-minded. They do not share our focus on living in light of the coming Kingdom. This breaks our hearts. We are challenged to share the gospel with them over and over again. We pray for the courage to speak about the things with love while battling the fear of rejection from those we love and will visit again on a birthday or holiday. We fight to remain separate from worldliness and sin while at the same time do not always enjoy sitting in our rooms alone while the rest of the family watches a movie.

It is especially after times like these when I appreciate my true family, those who share the great hope of the coming Kingdom salvation. I am so thankful for the fellow truth-seekers and truth-lovers who long for time together with me as well. We all come from different backgrounds in our past but since we have met at the cross, we now are pursuing paradise together. Often we have little in common but that which is most important which seems to cause the smaller quirky differences to fade away.

Consider what it must have been like for the Jews and Gentiles to get together. Completely different backgrounds, traditions, practices, beliefs, morals, standards – yet now because of repentance and faith in Christ in light of the Kingdom – unity.

Galatians 3:26-29 – “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

I love spending time with my true family. Things are not always perfect but our shared hope, big brother and Almighty Father challenge us to “make up and play nice.” The love from them warms my heart. The time spent with them is what I long for. The memories created with them are the ones I think back on with joy. The encouragement and correction from them is what helps me grow.

In the future my wife and I will have children and our family will grow. Though we have learned lessons and taken traditions from our earthly familes which we will pass on to them – it will be their true family which will be the model and standard for our own family. Our Father in heaven has designed it to be that way. In the church we can see a glimpse of the bond of family and community that God’s people will have with Him in His Kingdom forever.

Matthew 12:46-50 – While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on November 27, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    It happens to all of us at one point in our lives. Where we realize who our real family is, those who share the Kingdom message, love for our Lord, endeavouring to live for HIm, and those who when we are together, share a warmth and tenderness not known anywhere else.
    Its a double blessing when your relatives are follows of our Lord. That is just beyond joy!!! Guess who?

    Reply

  2. Posted by JohnO on November 27, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    I have to answer positively also. It is great to be back!

    Reply

  3. Posted by stardar on November 28, 2006 at 2:13 am

    There is one word that I can use to describe how I felt when I was with my family for Thanksgiving and that word would be an “outsider”. I do not fit in with my earthly family anymore. I belong and my desire is to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ. These are the people who keep me accountable. At home, there is no one there that can do that for me. It is filled with inappropriate, disrespectful, and ungodly behaviors that I refuse to be around or be a part of. This may come off as being “too good” or whatever to my family, but so be it. My purpose here is not to please my earthly family, but to first and foremost serve my God and His Son.

    Reply

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