Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. It is the time of year where families get together more than any other time (including Christmas). When I open the scriptures to look at the family tables, I am extremely disappointed in my options.
I could tell you how at one family table, a mother had a favorite son and taught him how to deceive his Father for a blessing. There was also the time where good family morals did not win the day when 10 brothers decided to sell one of their brothers into slavery. As I kept reading, it only got worse. There was the day where a husband tried to pass off his wife as his sister and the day where one brother raped his half-sister (that only caused family strife for years). One man was commanded to take an adulterous wife and named one of their children “Lo-Ammi” which means, you are not my people and I am not your God.” Even in the days of Jesus, there was an older brother that so despised his sibling, he stayed outside and pouted when his brother came home to be reconciled to his father. So much for family values!
After examining these stories, what am I to say that will bring hope to you as we approach Thanksgiving Week when we will see our families. Am I to say that many families in the Bible are more dysfunctional than yours—will that encourage you as you carry around family baggage that has been there for years? Should I make these families an example of what NOT to be as a family? Should these messed up, married, multi-failure, sinful, totally fallen individuals have a place in any family much less the Family of God?
I am not sure what your answer would be to this question, but the God of the Universe gives a resounding YES! Yes, the failed father gets another chance, the manipulative mother is offered grace, and the jealous brother is invited to the party. Yes, the messed up are given love, the sinful are offered forgiveness, and the wounded are healed. And when I ask why, the only answer that comes to my mind: BECAUSE THEY ARE FAMILY! They are sons and daughters of God through the person of Jesus Christ and are invited to an all-inclusive family called the church.
Family is the place where you always have a second chance, a place where you are loved even when you fall and scrape your knee, a home where there is always a place to rest when you are tired, and parents and siblings who love you for who you are and not what you can do. I hope next Thursday, you will experience that type of family at Thanksgiving, but if not, I just wanted you to know that you have a place at the family table of Southland Baptist Church.
May You and Your family have a great Thanksgiving next week and if you are here on Sunday, I hope to see you in worship—we will be observing the Lord’s Supper as we gather as a family around the Lord’s table.
April 30, 2020