Saturday, October 1, 2011

Family Responsibilities: Showing Up

by Andrew Cromwell

Families are pretty important. They are the laboratories that prepare us for the world. In our families, we learn how to play nice and how to treat others. We learn the value of a dollar. We discover our identity—where we came from, who we are related to and what expectations we need to live up to.

Normally, we don’t get to choose our family and they don’t get to choose us. But once we’re in, we’re mostly stuck for life. The first years are spent with the family giving to us. Mom and Dad cleaned our diaper, fed us when we were hungry and gave us a bath when we were dirty. They helped us with homework and made sure that we learned our Ps and Qs.

Eventually, we started giving back. We mowed the lawn or washed the dishes, did the laundry or cleaned the house. We were expected to be a contributing member of the family. We learned about family responsibilities and how everyone needs to do their part.

Finally came the day of freedom, the day when we moved out of the house and struck out on our own. But even the most independent of us were still called back from time to time—required to show up for Thanksgiving, Christmas or other sundry family celebrations.

And no matter how good (or bad) your family experience was, there is another family—a spiritual family—into which you are invited. In the New Testament, in the book of John, it says, “to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”

What an amazing invitation! We can be part of THE family! You don’t have to win the genetic lottery to get into this family, you simply have to believe and accept. And there are plenty of perks when you are a member of the family. You get to speak to Dad anytime, anyplace. You are considered a favored son or daughter and given an early inheritance. You can walk with your head held high because of this special identity. And that’s just the beginning.

There are some responsibilities we have in this family as well. Just like we are expected to be a part of family gatherings back on the home ranch, we are also expected to be a part of our spiritual family gatherings. These are times when the family gets together to encourage one another and to learn more about being a part of God’s family.

And, yes, just like at our home family gatherings, there are members of our new spiritual family that are a little strange. Some of the family members talk too much or too loudly. Some always say the wrong thing and end up offending someone else. But because they are part of the family, we cut them a little slack.

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about church. It’s the time when God’s family gets together and celebrates. And if you’re part of the family, you’re supposed to be there! When you’re not there, not only are you not encouraged by your fellow family members, but you are not able to encourage them. There are times when we receive (when we are children) and times when we give (when we are adults). But no matter where we are in the continuum of life, we have a part to play and when we don’t show up, we are missing out.

This weekend, why don’t you come and plug into God’s family? The pastors in Kings County would love to have you join them. Sure, there’s some weird Nelly’s in our family, but there’s some pretty awesome Uncle Dave’s too. 

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