I recently attended a family reunion. I love those events! The food was jaw-dropping, it was so good. And seeing folks I usually only see on facebook most of the rest of the year was so much fun. We laughed and caught up and just had the best time. I love these people! Some of us really don’t know each other very well, but I love them. Our common bond is a set of folks who had 8 children, and we are descended from them. Some of the greats. My Grandma was one of those eight kids. She was the epitome of the Greatest Generation. She worked hard, she saved relentlessly, and she loved fiercely (though often quietly). And the last remaining sibling, my Aunt Doris, announced that she counted up all the descendants…it numbers, right now, at 195—not all of them were at the reunion the other night because some are in far-flung locales and some were under the weather, some have passed onto Glory, etc. But, she said she didn’t think her Mama and Papa would have ever imagined. 195! From a simple farm couple in Caswell County, North Carolina. A tiny little dot on the great, big map of the world.
So as I sit at this keyboard and think about all those folks, and how blessed I am (that’s just one branch of my family tree…there’s a whole mess of folks on my Grandaddy’s side, and don’t get me started on all my Kentucky cousins from my lil ole Maw Maw’s side of the family)…I also recognize that I was sitting in church this morning with even more family. And today, SMC asked us all to Stake Our Claim. To be in this life together. To reach people and bring them into our family. It was electric in those moments at the end of service today. And it’s now warm and fuzzy as I sit here with my computer in front of me.
Just as we love and embrace those we hold in our hearts as kin, and as we value our time together sharing in meals like we did at my family reunion, we are reminded that there is a greater body we can look to as our family. This also speaks life over our relationship with the church – which is not the physical building we worship in on Sundays, but rather in the communion we enjoy when we are together (in person, surely, but also in venues like this online blog site and in our FB Bible study).
We are reminded of, and frankly instructed in, four non-negotiable standards for how we do life as followers of Jesus: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
Jesus calls us to be a family, to gather together, to worship together, to do life together, to be in community with one another, and to serve as His hands and feet together. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that so strongly as I have this past weekend. And I am thankful. Grateful.
When we are together, and our focus is on Jesus, God is within us. “Christ lives in you, and He is your hope of sharing in God’s glory” (Colossians 1:27).
So I write to you today, Friend, to tell you that you are part of this wonderful family, too. And I thank YOU for that. You contribute in ways you might not even realize. And I call out to you today to cheer you on as you find more and different ways to continue to do that. This world needs you, and our family needs you. I pray you know what a blessing you are, and I hope it encourages you to continue to be…to give you more reason to dig deeper and pour into those in your sphere of influence—in little ways, in big ways, in whatever ways. Bob said it this morning, that we may never know the impact our works of faith will have. We may never see the results. But somebody will. Next week, next year, or twenty years from now. Someone will.
Thank you, Friend. I appreciate you, and I love you, and I’m thankful for you. *FAMILY HUG*