A Family That Lasts Forever

13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him.  
(Mark 3:13-14)
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”  

(Mark 3:31-35)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  

(John 15:12-15)
Jesus is the perfect Husband, whose love for the Church models how every human husband ought to love his wife. But Jesus is also the perfect Friend, whose love for his disciples points the way for us to make Everyday Church the loving community that he wants us to be. Praise God, visitors to our church frequently comment on our love for one another. But people in our church can still feel lonely. We still have plenty of room to grow in this area.

We live in a culture where the nuclear family is primary. If we’re not careful, our own high view of Christian marriage can make those who are not married feel excluded. But note what Jesus says to his own nuclear family in Mark 3. He effectively tells his mother and his siblings that “I have a more important family than our one. I’m part of the eternal family of God.” Wonderful though our nuclear families may be, Jesus warns us that they will not last forever. The only family that will last forever is God’s Family. That’s how important our friendships are within the church.

How might it change our life together as Everyday Church if we truly grasped this? Would we stop talking about bringing our families to church and begin talking about going to be with our church family? Might we open up our family lives and our homes a bit more to one another, recognising that the single, the divorced and the widowed are all part of our eternal family? Whenever people make these kinds of changes, it brings great glory to the Lord.
1)   If you are part of a nuclear family within the church, how much does your family feel like a stand-alone unit? How much is it an open-hearted community, which welcomes in many people from the wider church family?
2)   If you are not part of a nuclear family, how can you connect in with a family or with a group of friends to create an open-hearted community together? How can you draw disconnected people into your own home too?
3)   Jesus started with his Twelve. He called them to “be with him.” Perhaps the easiest place for us to start is with our Life Groups. How might your Life Group fulfil the promise in Psalm 68:6 – “God puts the lonely in families”?
Father God, I thank you for nuclear our families. Thank you that they are all part of our wider church family. Help us to view you as our true Father. Help us to view the church as our true Family. Help us to view one another as true brothers and sisters. Help us to be a Psalm 68 church, a place where you put many lonely people in families. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.