How’s Your Family Doing?
Are we ready to be Christian families in 2020? The year is coming to a close and the Christmas Holidays are right around the corner. It is during this beautiful Holiday season we often take time to intentionally spend it with family. The reality has rested that the passing year has pulled on the hours, minutes, and seconds of our days. From the moment our alarm clock boldly declares our night is over to the final moments of our day where we pry the grip of a digital device out of our hands we have just spent twenty-four hours accomplishing something. That something may have been work, school, rest, or even fun.
If our faith is going to be strengthened in the coming year it is vitally important we return to the simple practices of our faith each day. We want to see the next generation combat the swift arrows that frequently fly their way. Our children need their fathers and mothers to set the example of living in a Christian home. Families need to pray together. A family that prays together stays together. When our children head out to school the covering of a daily prayer should not be neglected. There is power in prayer and our children need us to constantly pray over them. Taking time to hear or read the Bible together is something that must return to the family if not already a regular practice. God has given us the responsibility to train our children and there is no better training than that which comes to form the Word of God.
There is a temptation to allow digital devices to substitute quality time. We can all be present in the room with our physical persons while mentally we are scrolling through another individual’s highlight reel that they have decided they want the world to see through their feed. Across the room, there can be silence with the exception of a giggle or laugh as one member sees the latest meme come across their screen. There is no substitution for family conversation. Real conversation that pushes past the surface of the day and leans into the depths of the heart must take place at the table for our families to be healthy.
There will always be access to entertainment and the ability to obtain it fast but what about access to our family? We only have a passing moment with our little ones as they grow from crawling around on the floor to kicking soccer balls on the field of the college they are looking at attending. The days of childhood pass all too quickly. Do our children receive more attention than our phones?
Make no mistake parents need prayer and time in the Bible for our hearts as well. The daily tasks that demand to be done and the mounting lists of more to be accomplished seem to never end. We must take time to be better human beings. We are human beings, not human doings. We have a tendency to confuse rest with laziness these days and wear the badge of busyness as a description of honor in our conversations with peers. “How are you doing” often asked with the simple reply “staying busy” or “been busy”. We need to return to the reality that busy does not mean better. Jesus demonstrated that even He the Son of God needed to rest. Do we think we can work harder or faster than Jesus himself? He even demonstrated rest when others were in panic based on the circumstances around them. The family in 2020 needs to find their rest once again.
Whatever 2020 holds for us is still yet to be written but God has given us the gift of blank pages each day. Let us write a new story this coming year. A story of simplicity, a story of a conversation with laughter and tears. Let us set down the distractions and pick up where our ancestors left off around the table. Our hearts and our families will be better for it and perhaps if we ask we will find Jesus sitting at the table with us speaking through those we love.
Matt Harrell Lead Pastor of Forerunner Church in Elizabeth City, NC