Sunday, September 8, 2013

Family Ties

Jesus surprises us in Luke 13. He speaks to the crowd, the large group of people willing to hear the
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message. He doesn't candy-coat the price they must be willing to pay to go from a mere crowd-follower to a disciple-follower. He says that you have to be willing to put everything else 2nd. Everything. Including the things dearest to your heart, including plans and family. It's hard to imaging for those who desire to put family first that we would be made to make this choice. It sounds harsh and even 'un-Christian'! But let's unpack this. Jesus did not practice his ministry in a way that disrespected his family. When he wanted to stay and listen to the teaching in the temple, he followed his parents when they came back for him, even though he surely wanted to stay longer. He began his public ministry earlier than his desire would have been, when his mother made her wishes known that Jesus could fix the party problem of not enough wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. Even when dying on the cross, his desire to see his mother taken care of took precedence, and he made arrangements for her to be taken care of. But he did show us what he was talking about here when his family tried to pull him aside in Luke chapter 8. He was in the middle of his ministry of speaking, teaching, and healing when his family apparently wanted to adjust his priorities and schedule. ("your family needs a word with you!") His response was surprising. "My family are those who hear and do God's will." Jesus did not go out and set his family straight. He just stayed focused and kept on speaking, teaching, healing, and fulfilling his purpose; including dying on the cross to save the same family members who thought they could straighten him out! And in doing so, he set us an example. Staying focused on doing the father's will, we all do family in ways that bring joy to our heavenly father first, and, in the long run, to all of us, too.

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