It’s that time of year. The end of summer is quickly approaching and the beginning of another school year is almost here (mothers you can listen to the Hallelujah Chorus here). It’s also the time of year when many families get together for their annual family reunion. Many of my Facebook friends have been posting pictures of their extended families enjoying picnics, games, and sitting in the shade catching up with Aunt Matilda.
I always loved family reunions. Unfortunately growing up our family often lived too far away to join in the festivities. I do remember, however, in my early primary school days that my father’s family would get together, sometimes in a park across the street from our church. The “religious” members of the family would join our church service while the rest would wait for us in the park then we would all join together for a great afternoon of food, games, food, fun, food. I always loved that as a little guy and I’ve missed it as an adult.
That made me think about the greatest of all family reunions, when God’s family finally gets together. The Apostle Paul refers to us as children of God, and if children then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8: 16). The Apostle John described this family as coming from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9). It will be a family, not connected by physical blood, but by something much stronger, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of you who have had the opportunity of going on a missions trip to another country have already had a taste of what it will be like.
Think about it – for thousands of years this family has been growing and it will continue to grow until Jesus comes. It’s just getting bigger and bigger. If you are a Christian you have brothers and sisters that you have never met and they are part of this great family.
While much of the family of God around the world is doing well part of your family is meeting in secret house churches in China to avoid being arrested. Part of your family is on a mountaintop in Iraq fleeing for their lives (even though the news media uses the term Christian rather loosely here to include everyone who is not Muslim, still there is a good chance that some of those people know Christ). Some of your family is being persecuted in places like Pakistan, Sudan, and Nigeria. Many in your family will go to bed tonight with empty stomachs. Things are not good for everyone in your family.
That’s why God has encouraged us to take care of each other – therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10). It is the responsibility of those who can to take care of those who lack.
What have you done recently to show that you care for your family? To show that they are important to you? To show that you care as much about them as God does? The Apostle Paul reminds us that if one member suffers, all suffer together (1 Corinthians 12:26). Suffering in the family is everyone’s business. It affects all of us.
This family thing can’t just be theoretical. It has to be practical. It has to mean something to us or it means nothing at all. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to stand in front of my family someday knowing that I could have done something but having done nothing and have them ask me where I was when they needed my help.
So if you minister to the family who is suffering – thank you! If not, they’re waiting for you.
Stay in the Word