Can you name the three most significant relationships in your life? What makes them significant? (Hold that thought.)
Scripture tells of a time when Jesus’ family showed up while He was ministering. Someone got His attention and let Him know His mama and brothers wanted a word with Him outside.
Jesus’ response seems curt, even cold. He basically countered, “Who is my family? If you are not for Me, you are against Me. My deepest bond resides with those who hear God’s Word and do it. THAT’S my family!”
I imagine that riled the kinfolk, don’t you?
Individuals sharing our DNA assume greater access, don’t they? No matter the current condition of the relationship, preferential treatment is kind of written into the contract.
For these siblings, things were getting out of hand. Jesus had just returned from a forty-day wilderness fast. He surely looked and acted different. (Fasting will do that to you!) Suddenly, their older brother had become the talk of the town, performing miracles and telling people He was the Son of God. It was time to talk some sense into Jesus before He completely ruined their reputation.
While Jesus’ words sounded harsh, He was not condoning family neglect. In fact, He cleaned the clocks of religious leaders for dishonoring their parents. Even in His most agonizing moment on the cross, Jesus asked John to provide, in His stead, for His precious mother. The Son of God never diminished the importance of family. Jesus was simply paving the way for what was coming…the beautiful bond of believers called THE CHURCH! He understood that relationships built in spiritual community last longer, and in many ways become more significant for our journey.
(Did she just say that?)
Take a breath. I’m not dissing biological family. They are gifts from God (even when we do want to return the gift sometimes!). Jesus’ words simply broaden our perception of this foundational entity.
Living in meaningful fellowship with a community of believers (the Church) has expanded my understanding of family. This intimate bond runs deep. I struggle to articulate how essential these people have become to this race I run called life.
Yes, every church perpetually proves its imperfections. But shouldn’t we expect that? After all, every church contains imperfect people. So of course, it’s flawed. Besides, if it were perfect, once you and I arrived, it would all go to pot! Despite its imperfections, the Church is one of the most undervalued, underutilized gifts God offers. Nothing can take its place!
Why? Because obstacles prove more intimidating when you try to trust God alone. Feelings of uncertainty feel more uncertain when you face them by yourself. When my back is against the wall, I sprint toward my Faith family who can believe God with me and bring change. When my heart feels fragile and blinded to any next step, these deep relationships heal and “hope” me.
Did you know that geese never fly to a new location alone? They gain momentum from the flapping wings beside them. Flying with others going in the same direction makes it seventy percent easier. For real! It takes 70% less energy to advance if you stop trying to do it alone. By taking the journey with those going in the same direction, you inevitably fly faster and farther!
I’m grateful for my relatives. They own so much of my heart. But I’m also incredibly grateful for Faith-filled friends in my Faith community who are the family I get to choose. They make me better and lift me higher! THEY ARE MY PEOPLE!
I ask again, who are the most significant relationships in your life? Do they lift you higher? Do they make you better?
FIND YOUR PEOPLE! You need their Faith and they need yours!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv