ACTING LIKE FAMILY
Ah, Famiglia or Family. Do you want to read a really strong statement about Family? If so then read this -
- "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." - 1 Timothy 5:8
Inside the family of the Old Testament I noticed lineage or heritage was vital to a healthy unit. As a family member, important duties were to serve God (Korahites were Tent Guards), daily chores, and extend the family name through trade, marriage, and offspring. An efficient run family always seemed to have their hierarchy in order and functioning properly. Several times I observed the heads of families going before Moses, Aaron, and God representing their family. Gideon questioned God how he could use the least of his family, himself, to do God's work (Judges 6:15).
When you were a part of a family in the O.T., you were connected, you did things as a unit (Judges 16:31; 1 Samuel 1:21). However, what happened to you, directly or indirectly, affected others in your family also (Judges 8:27; 1 Samuel 22:16). An "all for one and one for all" mentality prevailed, whether the other members of the family liked it or not. This was not healthy for some families because of certain bad apples that kings or officials targeted for death. The families then would also die as a result of this family member's mischievous actions (1 Kings 16:11; 2 Kings 10:17; 2 Kings 11:1).
Jumping to the New Testament, there were times when what happened to one-and-all was good. Luke documents for us in Acts 16:33-34 a jailer and his family's salvation - At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family. This was for an unbeliever who heard the message and songs of the Gospel from Paul and Silas at the midnight hour, who themselves were in the bottom of a prison in stocks and chains. So, what about the believer in Christ and his/her family?
To come full circle, consider 1 Peter 4:17 - For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? How we treat others starts with how we treat ourselves. This begins in the immediate family unit, ramping up to the bigger family scene (aunts, uncles, and cousins), but finally spreading into one's church family. If we don't care about the needs in our family and help when we know we can, then judgment is upon us and we cannot help others within the Church Family. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church? (1 Timothy 3:5) I know there are some family members out there that have not decided to follow Jesus, keep praying and planting those seeds. In addition, The Entire Family needs to hear testimony of Lord's goodness. Jesus said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." (Mark 5:19) One of the few times you will see Jesus not restrain somebody from telling what happened to them or telling who He is. Galatians 6:10 sums it up nicely - Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. We are family, it is high time we start Acting Like Family.