We see so many overwhelming problems in the world today…yet God has a solution for so many of them.
I’m talking about ‘Family’. Interestingly, statistics indicate that just being part of a couple or close-knit family group, despite all their quirks, idiosyncrasies and even failings, contributes significantly to longevity and overall long-term wellbeing.
Ephesians 2:19–20 (NLT) So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
The word ‘family’ has very different connotations for all of us. Especially if you are married, you will have had a very real experience of how different your idea of family life is from your spouse’s!
When God saw that it wasn’t such a good thing that Adam was by himself, he created Eve – a helpmeet. In doing so God started up the very first family.
But God’s idea of His worldwide family, called the church, is something else again.
A family is a picture of what church is supposed to be. We see our own immediate families as having a limited potential for growth (eg how many children you want to have) and influence. But God sees His family as having an unlimited capacity for growth – there’s always room for one more new member.
When a church body becomes comfortably satisfied with its current state, it can easily end up closing off, becoming inward looking and insular. This will affect the whole feel of the church, and visitors may feel a bit like intruders trying to gain access into a tightly closed circle. It’s can almost feel as if there’s a ‘No Vacancy’ sign up.
But God doesn’t want anyone to feel excluded from His family. This is why we as a church need to continually welcome newcomers in. To do this effectively, every member needs to be able to stay open to meeting new people and building new relationships. We need the attitude that there is always room for new friends in our lives. We need to be able to embrace people as individuals and welcome them into our daily lives – not just greet them on Sundays.
When did you last:
- Invite someone new in to your home or your close circle of friends? Start up some new relationships? Befriend someone you didn’t need to?
- Go to a small group not for your own gain, but to do the work of being God’s family to others?
- Speak to someone at work about a hard time they’re going through – even though you were busy?
Do you come to church not just wondering who will talk to you, but on the lookout for somebody new to meet and have over for dinner? Staying ‘relationally open’ requires maturity – it needs to be a deliberate decision.
Who are you praying for, believing for, caring for and inviting to church? Make it a priority to do something for them this week.
As God’s family we have a purpose – to bring God’s love to a world that needs to know about Him.
In church we often hear phrases like ‘Reaching the world’, ‘Changing the city’ and ‘Impacting nations’.
Some people talk about ‘Reaching the nations’, yet seem to ignore the many needs all around them. If we want to reach a city, a nation, or the world, it’s mostly going to involve reaching people we come in contact with in our daily lives, one by one.
And to do that we need to be operating as God’s family, reaching outwards beyond our own needs and actively befriending, welcoming and caring for those around us. If we can help make things better for even just one person, we’ve succeeded!