The High Calling and Supreme Joy of Family
At one point in his marriage, Albert Einstein realized that his marriage and hopes in his own family were being crushed under the weight of their own expectations. So, in a last ditch effort to save it, he proposed the following conditions in his home.
* You will make sure:
- That my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
- That I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
- That my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
* You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, you will forego:
- My sitting at home with you;
- My going out or traveling with you.
* You will obey the following points in your relations with me:
- You will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
- You will stop talking to me if I request it;
- You will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
* You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.
It’s not a list I recommend. It's also a sad story and it did not work. Eleven years later, they were divorced.
What is it that you have come to expect of your family? What is your list? Maybe we expect too much? Maybe we expect too little. Does the gospel have anything to offer us in the transformation of our EVERYDAY life?….and of course nothing is more everyday than our own families.
On the one hand, we certainly expect too much. We put our grandest hope in the most meager expectations. We hope for a sliver of happiness, a ray of joy in an otherwise abyss of hardship. We often, in desperation, grasp at family with maximum effort to give our life meaning and purpose.
On the other hand, we expect way too little. After all, listen to the expectations of our Creator when it comes to the family.
Genesis 1:27-28 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
God says here are my expectations. “I expect you to FILL THE EARTH WITH MY GLORY!”
That’s a stunning expectation.
God says, I expect you to have children who have children who have children and so on. And I am expecting you to fill the uncivilized world outside of the garden with my GLORY…by serving, loving, and keeping a legacy of grace that goes on and on in perpetuity forever and ever! That’s so much bigger than the meager hope of a little joy. This is perpetual ultimate joy in the Creator that fills the world!
The gospel restores our ultimate purpose in the family: TO PUT GOD'S GLORY ON DISPLAY TO THE ENTIRE WORLD THROUGH THE GRACE FOUND IN THE GOSPEL!!
If grace doesn’t show up in the fire and the storm of daily life in the family, the gospel isn’t at work.
We can talk about grace. We can go to church and say we believe the gospel. We can say once saved always saved all day long. But if our lives do not put his grace and glory on display (this is the entire point in Ephesians 5) in the family. If our kids and our spouse have never seen us portray his grace and point to Him on a regular basis, there is no gospel at work.
How do we get rid of fear-based parenting or put a stop to performance based living in our homes? How do we turn the good gift of family into a glory mill where grace is in action for the whole world to see? That’s what we are looking forward to this Sunday as we continue our study in the GOSPEL FOR EVERYDAY LIFE.