No such thing, right? Whatever a family looks like these days, we can be certain that none is perfect. But a family doesn’t have to be perfect to be a place where people are loved, accepted, needed, and safe.
When a family ‘works’ best, everybody participates, everybody contributes. It’s more than a list of chores that are evenly divided. It’s the strength that is more than the sum of the parts. At the heart of it all, relationships matter most. Families can be constructed by blood, or friendship, or affinity. Families can experience loss, divorce, distance, and change during the seasons of life, but there is still the potential for bonding and healing. We need each other.
The old man knocked on the door of his granddaughter’s bedroom. She was in trouble again. One bad choice followed other bad choices. While she was sulking, locked in her room, she had shut everyone out. She was wrong but she was hurting. Grandpa thought he would try to get through. He knocked again. He heard a muffled, “Go away.” He knocked again. From his side of the door, “I’m not going anywhere. We need to talk.”
She finally opened the door. They sat together on the edge of her bed and she noticed something in her grandfather’s hand. “What’s up with the sticks?” The way things had gone she probably thought he would use them on her. He smiled and handed her one stick. “Break this stick for me.” She snapped it easily. Handing her the rest, he said, “Now, break this bunch.”
She tried then tried again, straining and grunting with effort. She couldn’t break the sticks. She looked up at her grandfather, defeated. He put his arm around her. “Honey, I don’t think I could break all of them either. Think of it this way: Nobody in this family is perfect. Heck, I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my day. But this bunch of sticks represents our family. By ourselves, we can be weak, but together, well, that’s another story.”
The church is a family. If God is our heavenly Father, that makes us brothers and sisters. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “You are members of God’s own family” (Ephesians 2:19). No, we are certainly not perfect, but the One who gives us life and draws us together is. He is the One who adopted us, who chose us for His very own possession.
This month we will study Ephesians and explore together what it means to be a member of the family. Take some time and read Paul’s letter. Pray for your church family. Invest your time, talent, and treasure in making our family stronger and closer.