[Jesus] replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:48-50 NIV).
There is a growing movement around the world, gaining traction, that emphasizes the reality that we Christians are all part of one family, with our Father in heaven and Jesus our wonderful older Brother.
This view stands in contrast to the notion that the Body of Christ is more like an impersonal business organization run as efficiently as possible by church leadership. With this latter view, the best we can hope for is good preaching, inspiring worship, and classes for our children.
But, truth be known, our hearts long for something more.
We are looking for family—for a place we can enjoy close interaction with brothers and sisters, and, most importantly, the nurturing, mentoring, unconditional love of spiritual fathers and mothers.
A loving family does a much better job at cultivating healthy growth than an organization ever could. Organizations have regimentation, typically inflexible procedures and rules, goals, mission statements, chains of command, hours, sick leave, and job descriptions. While these all have their place in our world, they are not fertile soil for producing abundant life.
In contrast, a good family exudes unconditional love, tears of joy and sadness, willingness to work 24/7 for the sake of the beloved, self-sacrifice, and celebration when a child becomes spiritually mature—even surpassing the parent in spiritual fervor.
In order for the revival and spiritual awakening we all long for come to pass, it is likely we will need to see a repeat of prior awakenings where the primary engine came from young adults in their 20s and 30s. But without spiritual fathers and mothers pouring into these younger disciples with direction, counsel, encouragement, and godly example, revival may never ignite; or, if it does, it may become sidetracked and short-lived.
If you are a younger follower of Jesus Christ, do you have spiritual parents who believe in you and are helping you to be all that God called you to be? Find someone you respect who can fill this role in your life. Don’t be bashful. Reach out!
As an older Christian, are you investing your life in the lives of younger believers? Resist the temptation to live for your own pleasure and ease. We are at war against a determined enemy.
Let’s follow the example of the apostle Paul, who “adopted” his convert Timothy. In Paul’s two letters bearing that name, he addressed Timothy as “my true son in the faith” and “my dear son.”
What incredible power we have to impact the course of history through the lives of both our real and our spiritual children!