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From the Preacher’s Pen…

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at several of God’s gifts to us as human beings. The gift of labor helps us to find value even as we grow and learn. Friendship teaches us to be a part of a team that we might accomplish more together than separately. The gift of money teaches us what we may accomplish in doing for and helping others rather than selfishly doing only for ourselves.

Now we need to consider a gift that teaches a lesson that goes beyond friendship…

The Gift of Family

If ever there was a gift of God that we fail to appreciate, it is probably the gift of family. Since sin came into this world, we as human beings only see at best a dysfunctional family.

Cain murdered his brother out of jealousy and sadly so often we see family as rivals. Sisters compete with each other; parents yell at the kids and children rebel against their parents. And all too often it ends in bitter grief when we realize what we have lost.

For a real example of family working together, we have to open our eyes and see the example of Jesus. Consider Philippians 2:5-11: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Real family, godly family honors and promotes each family member as they work together! At the age of 12, Jesus was already active in God’s work. And yet he honored and obeyed His earthly parents and his mother made note of it: And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart (Luke 2:51).

No less than 20 times in John’s Gospel alone does Jesus specifically refer to His Father and the work that they do together. When Thomas asked to be shown the Father (John 14:8), Jesus explained their work together was so united that simply seeing Jesus was the same thing as seeing the Father.

The New Testament letters to churches are filled with lessons on our relationship with one another as Christians and the very words used describe us as brothers and sisters. To the Galatian church families (Galatians 5:19-21) Paul tells of the deeds that family will NOT do: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.

At the same time, Paul also gives (Galatians 5:22-23) the actions that identify God’s family as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And then, as one last reminder of what not to do, Paul says: Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another (Galatians 5:26).

As Christians, we have a choice to make when it comes to God’s gift of family. We can do it wrong like the world in our homes and in the household of God. That dysfunctional family doing it wrong is of Satan, sin and this world.

Or we can choose to do it right and truly BE God’s family that is filled with gratitude and support for each other.

Family is a gift of God. Angels do not have families. Demons do not have families. Only God and His family do it right!

How are you using God’s gifts and blessings?

— Lester P. Bagley