By L&T Columnist Gary Damron
We had a lot of kids, and as they were growing up we told them (half jokingly) that’s so when we get old we can spend two or three months a year with each of you. When our daughter was small she had a great deal of insight and asked, “Dad, why is it that so-and-so’s family with one child lives in a big house, and our big family is all crowded in a little house?” The simple answer was that limited resources, divided more ways, results in less for each.
In our culture, having a family is often the result of two people meeting, falling in love and forming a unit to nurture the members. Family is part of the original plan; after God made the earth and everything in it, he created male and female humans, and the account reads, “indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
During creation he breathed into us his very breath; sending Jesus he further offered a born-again relationship as a child of God – much more than our status as creature.
In the Greco-Roman culture, the context of family was perhaps more significant than it is today. It was a son’s responsibility to bring honor and to raise the stature of his father and grandfather. The worst thing a child could do was bring shame to the family name. We’re now so independent, as fathers, mothers and children that we fail to see the obligation and inter-connectedness that should exist within a family.
In the Sermon on Mount Jesus told the listeners, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). After Pentecost the apostle Peter fixed his gaze on the beggar asking for money and said, “silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you” (Acts 3:6). Parents who spend their time and energy amassing material wealth can never regain the time when they’re most needed, raising young children.
Paul wrote, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). During his last week on earth, Jesus told the disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18).
In the Garden the night he was betrayed, he prayed for his followers. “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). The kind of knowledge referred to involves more than knowing about him – it’s an intimate, reciprocal, ongoing relationship.
Our heavenly Father with his unlimited resources wants us to be his children. The plan began in Genesis and continues with each baby born today. He will lavish gifts on his children, and his house is large enough to hold each family member who knows him personally. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). Our part is to accept God’s proposal to become part of the family.