While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He 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 12:46-50 NIV)
I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot lately, primarily because she has a more active presence in my life now than any other time since I was a child. The main difference is that like many Baby Boomers and those in the midst of middle age, the roles generally associated with parent and child often become reversed. Whereas once in our mother-son relationship, I was primarily dependent on my mother’s care, today her care primarily depends on me. I have remarked in jest, that my attentiveness to my mother is really just self serving, since the Bible promises that by obeying the Fifth Commandment to honor my father and mother, "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth (Ephesians 6:3 NIV).”
As I was reflecting on our life together, I thought how our relationship with our parents and others, and how we handle, address, grow, move forward, retract or flee from and/or abandon, like many of the ups and downs prevalent in all relationships, is more often than not, a choice. As a pastor, counselor, and even friend and colleague, I have watched relationships that God intended for love and unity, dissolve into estrangement and separation. Parents, children, siblings, spouses, good friends and even brothers and sisters-in-Christ, often let self-centeredness and temporal things of this world (e.g. money, pride, politics, hurt feelings, etc.), interfere with the relationships God created for love, and in the case of Christians, also the building of God’s Kingdom by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Once, when Jesus was addressing the crowds, the Scripture tells us that, “Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He 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 12:46-50 NIV).” Now we know that Jesus loved his momma. In His dying breaths as He hung on the cross, one of his final instructions was to make sure that she was cared for. Jesus also knew that most importantly, her eternal care would be secured, and thus, no greater responsibility accomplished by this loving Son and Savior of mankind.
The analogy of Jesus, citing that whoever follows Him and obeys the will of God, bonds His followers (i.e. disciples) with a love and commitment, often experienced only amidst the closest of families, should compel us to draw even closer to Christ. Inevitably, our earthly families will decrease with the passing of time. One of the most incredible privileges and responsibilities God has given us, as Christians, is the ability to influence the increase of our Heavenly families and our eternal blessings by serving others and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is the will of our Father and the best possible care we can give to others, including our parents, children, siblings, spouses, good friends and even brothers and sisters-in-Christ. God bless.