An Invitation Into the Family

“Enjoying and extending the freedom and family found at the table Jesus prepared.”

Remember that classy invitation you received? The one that said:

“You are invited to enjoy and extend the freedom and family found at the table Jesus has prepared.” Notice that it didn’t merely offer for you to enjoy freedom but also to enter into a family as well.

For some of us the invitation into family isn’t a super-enticing offer. We come from homes where family reminds us of hurts and even abuses that we’ve spent a good part of our lives running from or avoiding at all costs. An invitation into another family may not be something that sounds like a beautiful invitation at all. And that’s understandable. That’s fair. Your story matters. Your hurts are legitimate. I’m not asking you to deny them or set them aside -- I’m inviting you to transcend that view of family. Think about this…

What if you were part of a family where God -- the Creator of you and all things, the One who has loved you intimately and completely from even before you were born (Psalm 139), the one who spared no expense to bring you back to relationship with himself -- was your Father? No earthly father, no matter how loving or how neglectful, can truly measure up to God as Father. The worst fathers give you a broken view of God as father, while the best of fathers can only show you a bit of what God the father is like.

So, I’m inviting you to dare to imagine what your life would be like with a perfect Father. What would it be like with that kind of perfect, loving Dad? How would you be cared for in your hurts? How would you be celebrated in your joys?

And there’s more to this family. Not only am I inviting you to imagine what it would be like with God as your father, but what would it be like to have Jesus as your older brother?

Jesus is the one who laid down his own life, in love, for those whom he calls brothers and sisters. Look how this amazing love was described by the apostle Paul:

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)

Our older brother loved us unto death -- even while we were wayward siblings. That kind of love makes being part of God’s family sound very appealing to me.

Finally, being part of God’s family by faith makes us all sons and daughters of God, and brothers and sisters to one another. While we aren’t perfect in our behavior toward each other, we are free to admit our failures and be loved for who we are, as instead of for what we do.

We are bound closer than any kind family. As a friend of mine who wrestled with faith and a serious opioid addiction told me, “Gino, you’re my brother. Maybe not by blood, but… Wait. We are blood related. Not our blood, but Jesus’ blood.”  

We are spiritual family. United not by an unbreakable bond in Jesus. Family is an identity for those who follow Jesus. That means family is who you are, regardless of whether you recognize it or not.

I have a dear friend who does not follow Jesus, though he has witnessed the amazing way my family in Jesus loves me. He once said to me, “I don’t really want Jesus, but I sure would enjoy the benefits of knowing him!”

So here’s the invitation. If you are interested in following Jesus, learning to follow Jesus, or love following Jesus already, why not enjoy the benefits? You’re invited into the beautiful mess that is God’s family.