Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Of all the dream families that I grew up watching on TV or at the movies, the one that really gave me dreams of wishing I were part of their family was the Swiss Family Robinson. I loved that tree house! It was even better when I first got to see it at Disney World in January of 1972. Now, I'd be happy for any house in a tropical paradise like they had. Still, we must remember that there aren't, and never have been, any perfect families. Just try to find one in the Bible. All families are dysfunctional to some extent because who defines functional? We're all sinners, and we all make mistakes, and all we can do, with God's help, is try to be the best spouses and parents we can. It will always be true that our view of family is molded by our culture and our traditions. That can be good at times, but it can also be bad. The "Myth of Family" is that while it's important and precious, it's not THE most important thing in life.
1. The Magic of Family includes at least three parts. A. The Magic of Marriage, which is God's plan for us. It's a primary way He wants us to learn commitment, giving, unity, togetherness, and keeping promises. B. The Magic of Molding (not moldy but life changing), is simply that in relationships we grow to become the people God wants us to become. We are what we are because of our education, our experiences, and our examples. The family is the main place these three things happen. C. The Magic of Memories is maybe the best part of families. Memories are treasures that can never be taken away. All of these elements are made even better when we add God's magic. The special glue that comes from keeping Him at the center of our home.
2. The Mission of Family. Amount other things, God put us in families to give us A. Belonging, B. Bonding, and an environment for C. Building. Eph.6:1-4 makes it clear that the family is a place to learn and grow. Look at how we are told to treat other Christians in 1 Timothy 5:1-3. Where did we learn those things if not in the family? A successful family is one that points each member to God.
3. The Misuse of Family comes from misplaced priorities and dishonesty. We need to be careful of A. Misuse of Blood (Mk.3:31-35) only One saves, the rest is just DNA; B. Misuse of Purpose = family is important but not #1. Jesus said there are more important things than food and clothing and being anxious (Mt.6), and the kingdom can't take second place to the loss of a family member (Mt.8:18-22) or a bad family experience (John 4, woman at the well). And, C. Misuse of Blessings = Did God bless you so you could forget Him? Are physical blessings pulling you from God? What are we teaching our children about putting God first? The most valuable thing you can give your family is your own deeper relationship with Jesus!
Of all the descriptions God could have used for what He wanted the "church" to be, He used Family! Not club, business, corporation, institution, charity, school, or even a place! He used one word that means related, connected, committed, united, accepted, supported, and loved! What else do you call folks who have the same loving Father? It's got to be FAMILY!