Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. | Philemon 1:1-3
PRISONER. FELLOW WORKER. FAMILY. FELLOW SOLDIER. CHURCH.
5 UNIQUE ROLES WITH UNIQUE DEMANDS AND UNIQUE BLESSINGS.
Just as varied as our roles in life can be, the composition of our families varies too. People get married, children are born, pets are adopted, lifelong friendships are forged. Regardless of who we call our family, regardless of what blood relatives we may or may not have, there is one bond of family unlike all the rest.
ROLE: B R O T H E R S AND S I S T E R S
Christians, we are siblings in the faith. Do we love our fellow believers as we do our biological family? Do we even love our families the way we should?
Some of us may not have the quintessential family. Some of us may be orphans, divorcees, empty nesters, widows, or barren couples.
The composition of our families matters not. The way that we love those closest to us, does. Because if we don’t love these people, how will we love our fellow believers? And if we cannot love our fellow believers well, how will we love the lost of the world?
While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” | Matthew 12:46-50
Jesus calls us His family.
He identifies His “brother and sister and mother” as those who follow the will of God. And though the specific will of God for each minute of our lives may not be as clear as we’d like, God has revealed much of His heart and His will for us through His written word, the Bible.
If anyone has reason to refuse to love, it’s Jesus. As sinful humans, we have nothing that makes us worthy of His love. We have nothing that makes us worthy of being called His family. And yet He loves us and claims us. So if our perfect Savior, Jesus Christ, loves us, sinful though we are, as His own family, how much more should we, imperfect followers, love one another as such?
Friends, we are to love without bias, without conditions. Do we love like this? Do we extend the same patience, mercy, grace, and accountability to others as if they are our family?
I’ll be the first to admit—
this is hard for me.
I definitely love my family in a different way than I love others. Jesus’s words in the excerpt above actually seem harsh to me… If I was one of His siblings, I would have been hurt by His statement.
But today, as I sit on the other side of
those words—as a Gentile woman
who has no relation to this King of Jews—
I am brought to my knees in g r a t i t u d e .
I am thankful that He cares not for my genealogy, but simply cares for my heart. I am thankful that He claims me as His own.
He is our perfect example and we must follow in suit. So may we love others as our own family, showing boundless grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, patience, and care. May we extend the same accountability and exhortation and encouragement to all.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” | John 13:34-35
And as we live this out, may we learn to love the lost of the world with this same love—His love! This is, after all, what God has called us to do. We are to share this love with the orphaned, the widowed, the diseased, the ostracized, the abandoned just as we are to share this love with the powerful, the popular, and the admired.
They all are His creations.
They all need this love.
May the hearts and minds of those who don’t yet know Him be pricked, intrigued, by the way we love. And as we continue to love them through the questions, the doubts, the challenges, and the fears, may their hearts be won for Christ and His Kingdom!
We are brothers and sisters in Christ. And while our DNA may not qualify us as family, we are bound by blood—the blood of Jesus Christ. We may not be family in the traditional sense, but we’re family in the only way that matters: