Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doing What We Must Not What We Want

I would say that one of the most difficult areas of ministry is family. Parents see you as a child no matter your age; brothers and sisters never forget the rotten child you were when growing up; teenagers write you off as being disconnected from their reality. The only ones who really listen are the younger  children, but that does not absolve us from our responsibility to witness to our family our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. After all, the message is so powerful it often overcomes the short comings of the messenger. We have many examples of what happens when we neglect our responsibility to minister to our family.

Eli is a glaring example of what can happen when a father doesn't deal with the spiritual matters in his children's lives. Here he was, the priest in Israel and his sons assisted him. But they were terrible sons, exploiting the people, having sex with the temple servant girls and abusing the sacrifices to Yahweh. All Israel knew what these sons were up to and so did Eli:

Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. (1 Samuel 2:22-23)

But notice that he simply spoke with them, instead of removing them from their responsibilities. At least he spoke to them, but he didn't deal with it when they ignored him. Because Eli did not take care of it Yahweh was forced to. His charge was clear:

Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’ (v. 29)

Those sons were not just causing trouble for their father but were affecting all of Israel, so Yahweh stepped in but he also dealt with Eli. Sometimes we act as if we are not accountable, but Yahweh will correct us, especially if we are affecting his children. He requires us to take a stand for him, even if it means coming against those we love. He expects us to correct our children.

It is not a matter of opinion. We can't afford to do what we want. Regardless of the price we must stand with Jesus. Have you not read his words, that we must love him above all others? Our allegiance is to our King far more than to even our family. Do what is right and the Lord will honour it and you.

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