A former governor and a lobbyist approached a friend of mine, himself an influential. They sought his support for a grass-roots lobbying group focused on putting family first.
“And all of this is based on the Bible?” my friend asked.
“Oh, yes,” they replied.
“Then how do you interpret this scripture? ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.’ ” (Luke 14:26).
The well-intentioned pair racked their brains. Then they admitted that they didn’t understand the scripture. But their cause was good. My friend agreed.
Then there’s Abraham. Having received in old age a son, the fulfillment of God’s promise, Abraham heard God ask him to sacrifice his son. God even said, “your son, whom you love” (Gen. 22:2).
Would Abraham choose the gift or the Giver? Where did his commitment lie? At his Lord’s feet, or in his home? Abraham chose to obey his Lord, and the Lord gave his son back to him.
Jesus said that to follow him, a person must hate his family. Why isn’t this quoted in Sunday School?
The Greek word for “hate” stands for a measure a love so miniscule by comparison that it hardly exists. Meanwhile, we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. How committed are we to Jesus? Would we walk away from everything if asked to? Where, when all is said and done, does our allegiance lie? To whom do we owe it?
We try to love people with everything in us. We then give God token time. If we reverse the order, we find great love that overflows to others. That’s the paradox: when we offer to God what seems unfair and impossible, he gives back. The fishing nets Jesus asked the disciples to drop overflowed when Jesus directed the casting. He had asked them to lay something down, and then he empowered them to take it up again.
We’re tempted to prioritize people before God. We may think our family deserves the greatest portion of our love. But our Lord asks that we give up everything to follow him, even our family.
However, the one who asks us to drop our nets can teach us to take them up again.
Could our family become an idol in our life, a little god to us?
How do we increase our affection for the Lord?
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