My mom came in yesterday and I am really excited because this is the first time she has been able to visit us in our home. For more info about my precious mom please visit this earlier post.
For some reason Susan and I started talking yesterday morning about Jesus and his relationship with his family. To some extent it is hard to wrap your mind around. The portrait Mark paints is especially fascinating. During one of Jesus’ teachings his family literally calls him crazy and actually try to grab him from the crowd. Later on in the same passage they are looking for Jesus as he is teaching this incredibly large crowd. The people sitting around him say, “Your mother and your brothers are looking for you.” To which Jesus says as he looks at those sitting around him, “Here are my mother and my brothers.” In the Gospel of Luke Jesus says the terribly difficult words, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and bothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
Now, I wouldn’t dare say that Jesus is saying that family isn’t important. He defends taking care of parents, and even at the cross he makes sure that his beloved mom is taken care of. Truly, Scripture even says the family is a person’s first ministry before any other.
But what is abundantly clear is that in light of the Person of Christ there must be no equal to our devotion. It is surprising how often I find idols in my life in the most unsuspecting places. It is weird to think family can be an idol, a hindrance to our devotion to Christ bu it can be if we are not careful. It can be the most subtle and most effective hindrance.
This is a difficult tension. We are called to love our family and as said before that is where our ministry starts. Before someone is qualified to lead in the church he must lead his family well. And though family is so important but it is as temporal as our exilic time on earth. Our spiritual family is eternal and that is what the Lord has called us to invest in. Susan is my wife, but she is first my sister in Christ. That is our relationship for eternity. Our lives must be devoted first to the eternal.
There is no family like the family of God. It is a beautiful tapestry of grace, love, and hope. But I must say, what a blessed thing when our earthly family is also part of our heavenly family. I love my family and thankful that we are in exile together unified by the blood of Christ.