Look at me all crazy if you need to, but I’m not actually convinced that the priorities fed to me through home décor are all accurate. I know – insane, right??
Take for instance the phrase “Family First”. I recently read a passage of Scripture that is very familiar to me, but that suddenly jumped out at me in a whole new way.
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” – Matthew 10:37-38 (NLT, emphasis added)
Whoa – did someone just sneak that in there?! I recognize the part about loving father/mother, but not that bit about my sweet children. My Life Application Study Bible adds this note about these verses:
“Love of family is a law of God, but even this love can be self-serving and used as an excuse not to serve God or do his work.” (Notes in Life Application Study Bible)
I suppose that if I am putting my family first, it means that my family’s priorities – school sports, summer camps, fun experiences – are the first thing on the calendar, and God’s priorities – mercy, justice, generosity – are the ones that have to wait until we aren’t busy (which is… when?).
If I am putting my family first, it means that my kids are #1, and yours are not. It means that if something I were to do might possibly impact my kids negatively (like, say, volunteering with a homeless ministry), then we can’t do it… because the kids come first.
If I am putting my family first, it actually might mean that we are hoarding our own fruit of the spirit, rather than serving up kingdom fruit to those who are love-poor or kindness-lacking or joy-impoverished.
If I am putting my family first, it means that everything I have is for me. Our money, our home, our cars [minivans], are for us and for our advancement and enjoyment.
But if we our family is surrendered to God first, then that would mean that His priorities go in the checkbook and on the calendar first. It would mean that every child is His child, and there is no #1 family or set of children. Our hearts would beat with love for all children (#fostercare, anyone?). It would mean that our giftings, our treasures, our time, our assets… none of it is for us. It is all His, entrusted into our care as an investment. We could bury it all in vacations and home renovations and fun, family-centric experiences. Or we could sow it into the people around us – seeds that will produce fruit for eternity.
So no, I’m not convinced that I’m supposed to put my family first. Instead, I think I need to consider living as though the priorities of my new, adopted family – the family of God – come first for this earthly family.