Each one of us is different, unique, incomparable. The Lord has seemed fit to create us this way. For instance, I freely admit that I would prefer to be more succinct, brief, laconic when I speak. But I am a storyteller. I like to fill in the details; give you the background; clarify my point. Shoot, I am doing it again.
It is in my personality. I tend toward more loquacious, more verbose answers and explanations. But Jesus said for our “yes” to be “yes” and our “no” to be “no.” If someone asks you whether you are going to their party, you should be able to answer yes, or no. But I am one of those who is compelled to explain why. In fact, people look at me and wait for an explanation. This habit is even evident in intimate conversations. But as Beecher once said, “All words are pegs to hang ideas on.”
See, each of us is different. For instance, each of those in The Church is different. Some are more succinct than I am. lol. Look, we need to catch the vision of how we are to function as God’s ultimate family, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Day by day, as opportunities arise He will fit us into our roles and fulfill His desires. I develop and explain this much more in a study entitled, “Dust and Stars” referring to the two families in which we are members: Dust being our physical, Earthly family, and Stars, the Spiritual, eternal family.
When Jesus promised Peter a hundred times as many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, as he had given up, he was looking toward a rich new family that would satisfy Peter’s needs better than his natural family ever could.
Think about it. Because of the support and input of Peter’s natural family, Peter had grown to be a seasoned fisherman with undoubtedly a sense of responsibility and many other excellent qualities. Praise God for the provision of physical families, with all that nurturing and support and stimulus they provide! They can be a springboard for great attainment in this world (or sadly, the downfall of even the most gifted among us.
However, think about the influence Jesus had had on Peter’s life! For three years Peter received input from Jesus and the other disciples. He had the honor of representing the Twelve when he preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14). Consider his experience with Cornelius. That was when Peter learned that the whole Gentile world was also included in the Life of Jesus (Acts 10).
Then, we learn about Peter being thrown into prison! What did all the brothers and sisters do? They spent the night praying for him! (Acts 12); How about the time when he was being a hypocrite and was confronted by Paul in front of everyone? (Galatians 2:11-14); or when he was later considered one of the three pillars of the mother church in Jerusalem? (Galatians 2:9). All of that must have impacted his life.
What I am trying to say is that Peter was so intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally stimulated and motivated by spiritual brothers and sisters that he wrote two of our most significant pieces of literature. Imagine a simple, ordinary fisherman from up-country Galilee writing like this about silver, seeds, and stars:
“You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (I Pet. 1:18-19)
“You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God” (I Pet.1:23)
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts” (II Peter 1:19)
Can you imagine how proud Peter’s family must have been? How amazed to hear their ex-fisherman husband and father preach like that? Ooh, then to read his writings? I am sure they were behind him, supporting him, encouraging him.
I saw the evidence of this in the life of a dear friend (and now my Pastor). When I first met him, he had come from England to lead the worship in a church I was involved in. Our first introduction to him was through the wonder and skill of his guitar playing, but those closest to him saw the evidence that there was much more to this man.
Years later, I had the opportunity (and pleasure) of readings his writings and discovered that he indeed possessed a great deal of wisdom, insight, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. What brought that out? It was apparently the work of the Holy Spirit! But it was also the support, input, and encouragement of the many brothers and sisters in England!
Every one of us needs someone close to nudge us (sometimes even shove us) forward. It was through my wife’s enthusiasm, and encouragement back in the early 80’s that I finally put these thoughts together in Dust and Stars. But she understands that she did not provide all the influence to stimulate all that in me.
It would be amazing to discover how many problems in the physical family would be resolved or at least alleviated if the spiritual family was functioning. For instance, a deep prayer life with (and accountability to), some close members of the spiritual family can help make your relationship with your physical family what it should be. That means our accountability can keep us from all sorts of personal traumas, sins, habits, etc.
My friends, there is no way you can accomplish that in a Sunday service where everyone smiles at each other, but never relate. The Church needs to work as a “healing agent” in our families. It needs to gather together and unite and interact with each member.
I realize that is nice sounding, but there is a lot of talking these days which pits The Church against the family — a cruel thing to do, like trying to make two friends into enemies. This kind of talk makes the church the spanking boy every time. It implies that it is spiritual to refuse to usher, sing in the choir or teach a Sunday School class. Why? So we can sit home in front of the television with our feet up and munch potato chips?
That is dangerous and twisted thinking. Let me illustrate this a little differently for you. Patrice and I used to have two Golden Retrievers, and before we bought them we went to see them at the breeder’s house, I still remember seeing them in a playpen in the basement. That enclosure was their whole world, and those tiny pups snuggled against their mother for warmth, food, love — everything they needed.
They had no idea that they were totally dependent on a larger family, the human family — the owners of Derspinna Farms — who were the ultimate source of the provision of all their needs.
If your physical family is supportive and secure, then stay close together for the warmth, food, and love provided there. Although, you need to recognize that your real source of godly love, kindness, nourishment, and togetherness should come from the larger, eternal family!
Throughout the New Testament, the emphasis is for us to use our gifts to nourish the Body of Christ and to draw our nourishment there. So all the adult singles, young people without Christian parents, and those married to a non-Christian spouse will feel just as cared for, loved and nourished as anyone else in God‟s family will. When we are loved, fed and prayed for, the lacks and needs of our physical family relationships will be met.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.