“For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom the whole family in Heaven and on earth derives its name.” Eph. 3:14-15 (NIV)
As a young man, I used to love singing an old Gaither song in church called The Family of God. The chorus goes like this:
I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood;
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod;
I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.
(William J. and Gloria Gaither; Gather Music; 1970)
I enjoyed looking around at my church family as we sang that song. I remember feeling genuinely glad to be part of this family of God. Despite its flaws, the sense of belonging I felt, and the love that flowed from that family was truly sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. Even as a child and teenager, I felt valued by and connected to my whole church family.
I also love being part of my biological family. It is a precious gift of God, and one we often fail to appreciate. The gift of God’s family is more than blood relatives… on second thought, maybe it’s not. Because of God’s amazing grace and love through the Gospel, we given new life in a worldwide family of born-again brothers and sisters.
We are joint heirs together in Jesus—blood relatives. Our biological family is vitally important for God’s plan to pass a legacy of faith from generation to generation. However, without the larger family of God, it would be like having a birthday cake without candles, ice cream, and a party.
Many researchers believe a very small percentage of children who grew up in the church will remain in the church as adults. Grandparents, these are our children and grandchildren we’re talking about. What does our life and relationship with God’s people say about the importance and value of being part of the family of God?
Our goal is not to get them to church, but point them to Jesus and the incredible blessing of becoming part of His family—His Body, even with all our messes and flaws. The Gospel is the good news of redemption rebirth, both individually and communally. We were not saved for isolation, but community. We can’t live the righteous life alone.
May our lives and attitudes towards the family of God give our grandchildren every reason to want to be part of such a family. May they learn to genuinely delight in singing as I did, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God!”
Cultivating a Postive View
Here are three actions that could make a difference in how your children and grandchildren view the family of God:
- Guard against speaking negatively in front of them about what goes on in your church or any other church. Speak respectfully about the music, preaching, people and ministries so they understand that the family God is where we lay aside our personal preferences, and focus on God’s presence and purposes for the whole body, including mission to make much of Christ in the world.
- Make every effort to exalt the blessings and privileges of being part of God’s family, even if things aren’t always how you like them. Read Ephesians 3:14-4:16 together and talk about the importance of our part in the body (family) as described in this passage.
- Establish a safe environment where hard questions and expressed doubts about church, the Bible, or Christianity are not condemned or put down, but are welcomed. Our grandchildren don’t need a bunch of old bobble heads criticizing every criticism or making light of real concerns they may have about these things.
We must not forget that the Church is made up of messy people whose messes are why Christ came in the first place. As the redeemed by the blood of Christ meeting with a lot of other messy redeemed, what can you do to make “family gatherings” joyful and glad celebrations of our Redeemer. Make much of the precious opportunities this ‘family’ has to spur one another on to love and good deeds to the praise of God’s glorious Name. Let’s give our grandchildren every reason to want to be at the party!
GRANDPAUSE: “From a generational perspective, the older generation must be careful not to exasperate or provoke the younger generations. Otherwise they may ‘lose heart’ for the church and for Christ.” — Gary McIntosh; One Church, Four Generations
[Share with us ways you are helping your grandchildren understand the how important the family of God is.]