Family First? Really?

I came to an embarrassing and rather shocking conclusion about how I viewed my family this past week. In our small group / Bible study we are going through a book called the Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. The theme of the book is how reclaim the adventure of living a spirit filled life – the Christian walk isn’t for wimps.

Irresponsible responsibility. What comes to mind when you first read that? My first thought was huh- what is that?!? Mark defines it as when “we allow less important responsibilities to replace more important ones, and we find ourselves practicing irresponsible responsibility. One of the challenges of following Christ is to flip this tendency on it’s head and become responsibly irresponsible.”

This was a hard concept for me to grasp, I’m a very responsible person and take those responsibilities very seriously. But one thing in the study really hit me, Batterson was talking about the passage where the Jesus asks a man to follow him and the man asks if he can go bury his father first. Matt 8:21-22 or Luke 9:59-62:

“He (Jesus) said to another man, ‘Follow me’ But the man replied Lord, first let me go bury my father. Jesus said to him, let the dead bury their own dead but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.

Still another man said, let me follow you Lord; but first let me go say goodbye to my family.

Jesus replied, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the service in the kingdom of God.”

He then went on to ask a question – Why do you think the man asked to bury his father? Can you sympathize with him?”

I definitely can sympathize with him! Looking back that passage has always really bothered me! I always thought “oh common, Jesus, give the man a break, you teach us to honor our parents…” & so my train of thoughts went. I never understood what Jesus was really getting at.

The Wild Goose Chase puts it this way : “ it (the request) seems reasonable and responsible for this young man to ask to go look out for his family and bury his father. But when we are tempted to sympathize with someone other than Jesus, when something doesn’t make sense or when we sense a little dis – equilibrium, we need to take a closer look at the story. …. I think this young man was doing what many of us do. He turned responsibility into an excuse.” Irresponsible responsibility.

Ouch! I then started asking myself, Do I put my responsibility to my family over God? When I’m thinking about a decision am I thinking what will God think? Or what will my family think? Through painfully honest introspection, I shamefully answered that more often than not I wondered what my family will think, over what would God think. Ouch. Inadvertently my Family had become an idol in my life. In sharing this with a girlfriend this past week, she told me that she too had just realized that. We talked about how being raised in large conservative families, family is a huge thing. But regardless of how you were raised it needs to be Jesus first. I never want to give up my family, I hope I never have too, but Jesus also says in the gospels that He who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Lord forgive me and help me be responsibly irresponsible and follow you completely and live out the passions you have revealed in me.

(After thoughts)

We so often place way more responsibility on ourselves than God ever intended and that weighs us down. They can even be good things, like serving in the community or church or your family, but are they the best things? Are they hindering you from following the passions that God placed in your heart? Called you to do? Do you even know what your passions are? Is your life so full with the noise and busyness of Life and what you want that you can’t hear God? Batterson states that “Passions like this aren’t about you discovering; they’re really about God revealing.”

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I'm a fun loving, people person, with a passion for ministry and the Lord. My greatest desire is to see people come to realize who they are in Christ and how that effects every area of their relationships and lives.I want to know Him more.