Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21). How conscious are we of living sent to our own family?
It’s easier to dwell on living sent to Africa or South America. It’s easier to think about living sent to a friend at work or a neighbor, although these are a bit tougher than the overseas thing cause they’re day to day instead of once a year. It’s more difficult to focus on living sent to a spouse or child or parent or grandparent or sibling. Why? Are these relationships too familiar? Too comfortable? Too close? Taken for granted? Whatever the reason, it’s time for us to be conscious of it.
For what it’s worth, I do a poor job of living sent to my wife. I mean, maybe justified by comparison I’m okay, but I’m not conscious of living sent to her like I should be.
Here’s a good question – what is “living sent” to someone? Well, it’s not something you can answer in an exhaustible way, because there are many forms of living sent to someone. But, the basic premise is this – living as a letter from God to someone in ways that allow that person to read and see the message of God’s love and tender compassion and everlasting hope and no-matter-what forgiveness and think-you’re-worth-dying-for value. It is giving my life into someone so that they become all that God intended them to be, so that they know they’re worth something to Him. It’s making an effort to ensure more and more growth and becoming in their personal relationship with Jesus. It’s living as a learner and follower of Jesus in such a way that those who see me see His ways and His teachings lived out in the here and now.
I don’t live sent to Jen like I want to, like that. Maybe you don’t either as a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, a mom, a dad. Maybe you want to. God’s Spirit is real and near and able to instruct me and you both in how to live this out. Denying myself, putting the interests of others first, is the key in this one. What if we as spouses were focused on living sent to one another, focused on each other’s growth in Christ and growth in oneness?
With my kids, I am more conscious. Ask yourself this question if you have kids – are you living sent to your kids in such a way that they see following Jesus as more than a self-absorbed religious activity every week, but rather as a daily journey with One who selflessly loves us and asks us to love others in the same way? Are you challenging them to be aware of the needs around them, in the family, at school, among the neighborhood kids, in the local and global community? Do they learn from you to put the interests of others above their own, or do they see you focused more on self-interests?
I recently asked Caleb to pray about how he could not only love his classmates, but how he could love a kid around the world who doesn’t have access to clean drinking water like he does. I am not telling you this so you will say, “Oh, what a glorious father that Jason is. He is so super-spiritual and godly. He is a good Christian guy.” Don’t say that. For two reasons. One – because that’s not why I am sharing this with you. Two – because I get ticked when people say that “good Christian guy” phrase. Jesus avoided the compliment “good” saying only the Father is “good.” And, what is a “good Christian guy?” You follow or you don’t. Let’s drop the better-than-you comparisons as followers of Jesus. Anyway – I digress – I am sharing this with you because I just thought this could be special, you know…
…what if we all pushed each other to live a selfless life, especially among our families? what might happen if our kids saw the church as more than a consumer’s activity? what if they saw her as one body serving together to love the world and shape humanity? what if even at age 7 our kids had a global awareness of the needs of other kids and less of an awareness of how bored they are in the excess of our material belongings?
That’d be pretty cool.
Let’s live sent to our families.