I grew up in a wonderful family. My parents are still married. I talk to my sister and brother regularly. My family did many things and took many trips together. We ate together regularly, and my parents attended almost all of my milestone events growing up. In fact, the only ones they didn’t attend we’re the ones I asked them not to attend.
I love my family. But I miss them.
In over ten years of ministry I have not lived closer than six hours from my parents. Right now we live about three hours from my wife’s family, and that’s the closest we’ve lived to any immediate family since we’ve been married.
Not being close to family is hard. It puts a strain on a person when their support group is so far away. As we began having children we didn’t have family close that was willing to help watch them. We didn’t have the ability to go chat with the parents over dinner the way many people do. We have been alone – separated from our family.
But it hasn’t been all bad.
The most wonderful thing about Christianity is the grace that God gives us each day through the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The most wonderful things about the church – the body of Christ – is that we are family.
Jody and I have worked for several churches, and in those churches we have struggled to find a few people that we would consider family. In fact, in some places, we found people who weren’t a part of “our church” who were like family to us. It is with great joy that I can say that here in Aztec we have a family at the Aztec church of Christ.
It is a joyous find to behold a church where a person is welcomed at whatever walk of life they are in. It is comforting to know that love is given regardless of whether or not someone completely agrees with you. It is awesome to be part of a family that isn’t blood related but treats you as though you were. That is what we have found in Aztec. Not just with one or two people, but with a whole congregation.
Jesus said to his disciples, “By this they will know you are my disciples; if you love one another.” This is what we are called to as Christians. This is what being a part of a church should feel like.
A we celebrate this, though, it is important to not get comfortable there. We must continually be working to grow the family. If you and I love this family so much, then why would we not want others to experience what we’ve got?! The church was not established to cater to the Christians. It was established to provide a support group, a family, for those who were reaching out to tell others about the saving grace of Jesus. The church should always be about growing the family.
So, I thank you, Aztec church of Christ, for the love and acceptance you have shown my family and others as they have come. May you and the rest of the body of Christ around the world be about sharing that love beyond our assemblies and building. May we be people who share that kind of family spirit with those who have no home, who have no family to call their own.
God bless each of you, and may He fill your heart with a family that has no borders. May you be part of a family whose home is in Heaven. May you become a child of the Father who loves beyond your comprehension. If you’d like to be a part of a family like that, then I invite you to Aztec church of Christ. You can find us on the web at www.aztecchurch.org, and we are even on Facebook! If you have any questions for me, please call at 334-6626 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.