My family loves baseball (my immediate family that is), and usually every time we get together, there’s a random Wiffle baseball game that breaks out at some point during the weekend. We always enjoy it, I always win, and everyone always goes home happy. But as far as I know, we’re the only one of the Cooks or the Shipley’s that enjoys baseball that much, and so usually when we get together as an extended family, Wiffle baseball doesn’t normally hit the radar. It’s not their fault, it’s just that we don’t share those common interests with them, and we find other ways to have fun together. But despite these, and other, differences between us, we will always have that common bond together because of our similar ancestors.
Edna Buchanan once said that “Friends are the family you choose for yourselves,” and while I love my extended family, I will be honest that under any other circumstances, in any other life, I would’ve probably never had a relationship with these people. We’re different, we choose different paths in life, whether good or bad, and our lifestyles are all different. The family that we’re born into then, is totally different than the one that many of us have chosen for ourselves: the church. But like our physical family, we have similar ancestors (Matt. 23:9; Heb. 2:17), and we are united under that name of Christian (Acts 11:26). We chose these people not because they like to play an annual game of football in the front yard, but because they have the same passion that defines their lives that we do, which is, in all things, to be well-pleasing to God (John 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:9). It’s what makes our church family connected with such people as Noah, Paul, John the Baptist, Elijah, or anybody else we can read about in the Bible that existed more than 1500 years ago. I’m not Jewish, but we have this common bond through our heritage in the Father, and our discipleship to His Son.
It’s no surprise then, that when Jesus stood at the front of the multitude in Matthew 12:46-50, and answered to the man that told him his mother and brothers were outside, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” And sweeping His hand over the people that were gathered to listen to the word of God, He told the man, “These are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father who is in Heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” It may seem disrespectful of Jesus at first to shun his family like that, and surely many commandments are made in the Scriptures to honor your family (John 19:26-27; 1 Tim. 5:8). But Jesus’ point here was to show that those who followed the will of God were to be honored as your family, revered and loved as the most precious of siblings, because they were truly the ones that, through thick and thin, would always support you and strengthen you, as a family should. It’s not that Jesus had no regard for His family or His responsibilities to them, but simply that other disciples of God held the nearest and dearest relation to Him. What an honor!
We all have had the experience of going to different parts of the country or world and experiencing the unmistakeable love that comes from seeing a group of people that you’ve never met welcome you with open arms. You don’t know these people, but you know that simply because they are following God’s will, as you are, you trust them and would trust your life to them. It’s a bond that far surpasses bloodlines and common holiday meals, and stretches into the divine. We should all be so lucky to find that in our lifetime. Have you?Last modified: January 22, 2019