La Familia es Importante
What is family, where did it originate, and why is it important?
This past Thursday was June 21st; the summer solstice, the first day of Summer. Summer is here! With it comes the heat and humidity, the yard work, and trips to the lake, river, and waterpark. It’s a time for students and teachers to relax a bit and take a break from the daily grind. It’s a time for parents to scramble to find productive activities for their kids.
For my family, June 21st, 2018 has an added meaning, marking the beginning of the Wright family reunion. Every other year since 1974, on the fourth weekend in June, the descendants of Edmond Wright travel from around the country to gather at the Old Mt. Tabor Church and Cemetery in Montgomery County, Arkansas. In the 19th century, my great grandfather, Edmund Wright, owned this plot of land. He buried his mother there, and later donated the property to become a cemetery. Since then, a few hundred Wrights, cousins, and neighbors have been buried there. Among those buried are war heroes, ministers, infants, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles; each one remembered and cherished by our family.
Each time we come together, we consider those who have passed on since the last reunion, and we celebrate the new faces that join us, both by marriage and by birth. We sit around and laugh at the same old jokes we’ve heard many times before, we cry over those that we have lost, and we reminisce about stories and memories from yesteryear. Most importantly, we dwell on the importance of family! We praise God for filling our family with strong leaders; men and women who loved the Lord, and loved their family, and made sure to instill that love in their children. That love is what compels us to gather together time after time. It’s why we choose to freely give out hugs, and to happily share in laughter and lovingly share in tears. To close out the weekend, all one hundred plus present form a circle. We hold hands and sing these words:
Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above
What is a family?
The classical definition is two parents, a father and mother, rearing their children. However, it goes deeper than that. A family is also a group of people who share a common ancestry; in our case, Edmund Wright.
Where does the concept of family come from?
The concept of family comes from the Bible. In fact, it was the first institution given by God! God saw that the first man, Adam, had no helper, so He made one for him. When Adam saw her he said, “23 This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Then God inspired the following words, “24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24
The first family had been formed, and they were instructed by God to be fruitful and multiply, and take dominion over the Earth. In the New Testament we see how marriage beautifully parallels Christ and His church. In the book of Ephesians, Paul shows us how Jesus loved His church and shed His blood, dying for it. Husbands are told to love their wives just as Christ loved the church.
How important is family?
According to Paul, family is so important that bishops, pastors, and deacons must be solely faithful to their wives, and must be competent parents to their children. They must be dutiful to the point that there can be no reproach in their devotion to their family. For this reason, if you were to list the priorities of a pastor, his family would (and should) be listed above his church. That is how important family is! Likewise, since the pastor and the deacons are to serve as examples to the church family, the family should be just as important to them.
It takes just a short glance at the world around us, a look at Facebook, or a few moments watching a newscast to see that the family institution is suffering. It is being relentlessly attacked on social, political, educational, and even religious fronts. Raising a family in today’s world is more difficult than it has ever been in times past. The world places many distractions in front of our spouses, our children, and us. It becomes increasingly difficult to pull ourselves away from these distractions so that we can remain on the right path. In the midst of all this chaos and distraction, God expects us to be the best husbands, wives, and parents that we can be.
How do I preserve my family?
The only way to preserve your family is through faith in, and devotion to Jesus Christ and His Word. All you need to know is contained in scripture! No, the Bible doesn’t specifically tell you how to deal with your child’s smartphone addiction. However, it does give you guidelines that will help you to manage your family in a way that both disciplines them and shows how much you love them.
When should I start learning to preserve my family?
Start now! Are you engaged? Are you in school and marriage is the furthest thing from your mind? Do you even have a prospect? Start sooner rather than later. There is no better time than the present to begin learning what your roles as husband, wife, and parent should be. Furthermore, there is no better place to learn than from within the loving embrace of a church family! In fact, you will find that the principles you learn will apply to both your family as well as your church family!
Finally, I would like to tell you why the title of this post is in Spanish. I recently attended the funeral of a young family member. He was a wonderful, God-serving young man whose life was cut far too short. His father is a Mexican man who serves as a missionary in Mexico. This father and his son had not gotten along well in recent years, and the boy had moved away to make his living. At the funeral, the father spoke to his relatives in Spanish. I didn’t understand much of what was said, but I caught the words, “La familia es importante!” The family is important! He missed the opportunity to reconcile with his son, but he knows without a doubt that he will see him again. He was able to use that moment to speak a deep, spiritual truth to his family! The family is important!
The family was God’s first institution, and it is still just as important today as it was in the beginning. Without the family, the church crumbles; and without the church, the family can’t be what God intends for it to be!
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 In the same way husbands ought also to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body.
– Neal Wright, MSBC Deacon