As the holiday season approaches, I invite you to consider three key thoughts for ministering to your family near and far.
- It often takes time for the seed of the Gospel to take root.
- Despite our weaknesses, it’s the power of God manifest in us that gets people’s attention.
- Many times, it’s in the context of family hardships that God moves most.
I like The Navigators Core Value of “Families and relational networks in discipling the nations.”Without a doubt, the most challenging group to minister to can be our families and those who know us best!
The flow of the Gospel through families and relational networks reminds me of the village of Bethany, where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived. Apart from the disciples, they were some of Jesus’ closest “family.”
Jesus taught Mary who listened to His stories (Luke 10:39), He was offered a place to sleep by Martha (Matthew 21:17; Luke 10:38), and He was with them after a family tragedy when Lazarus died (Luke 11:17-44).
John 11 gives us the clearest insight into those close relationships. Friends came to let Jesus know Lazarus was ill, “Lord, the one you love is sick” (John 11:3 NIV). During the account of Lazarus’ death and being raised the family knew and trusted Jesus’ power (John 11:21-22). Jesus also showed compassion for the heartbroken people: “When Jesus saw [Martha] weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled…Jesus wept” (John 11:33,35 NIV). Through the ministry of Jesus and His “family,” many came to believe in Him (John 11:45).
Let’s pray for God to use these holidays to advance His work in and through our families! May His light be reflected through our actions and words.