An Open Question
“Of course, family comes first.”
Heads nodded all around. Of course family comes first. This is a given.
But is it?
Family is certainly a high priority in our hearts. We love our spouses, our children, our grandchildren, and (most of :)) our extended family. We have and will continue to sacrifice for their well being.
Family is certainly a high priority in our Christian culture. Stores are full of books on raising young children, raising teens, parenting adult children, loving our spouses, grandparenting successfully, and other important issues. Tapes & DVDs abound. Talk shows address family situations. Listen to two Christian mothers communicate: family is huge.
Family is certainly a high priority in scripture. Much of the book of Proverbs, Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 5 & 6 and other passages speak to the importance of “doing family” well.
But is family first? What does Jesus say?
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
“Another disciple said to Him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22)
“ Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 8:31-35)
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own wife – he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) (Certainly hyperbole – overstatement – for effect, but what is Jesus’ message?)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
So this is the open question: does family come first in God’s kingdom? I await your feedback.