“Of course they do,” we all nod our heads emphatically. A ridiculously easy way to bring people to tears is to show them a clip of a politician, movie celebrity, or extraordinarily rich and famous businessperson wiping their eyes and stumblingly uttering how much their spouse, daughter, or grandfather means to them.
“So beautiful,” we sigh. “It’s good to see people of influence speaking out in support of the family.”
When something is true and right and good — like relationships between family and friends — why is it so important to garner words of approval by recognizable names? Does it make a truth more true somehow?
Back at the beginning of all things — before schools and universities, social clubs and professional organizations, churches and corporations — there was one man, Adam, and God saw that “it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 1:18)
First Family — Nothing to Do with the President
This helper wasn’t a professional colleague but a wife, and the first family was born, predating and preeminent over all establishments to follow because it is the one that God Himself — and not man — created. It is also the one unit that mankind throughout history — by wars, slavery, taxation, economic deprivation, unfriendly legislation, and social and mass media attack — seeks to destroy, because people of evil know that the major impediment to getting the masses to do what they’re told, is the loyalty of each individual in those masses to the friends and family that have a hold on their heart, soul, and being.
In most people, it’s a far stronger hold than the desire for money, a longing for fame, or even fear. (This may be one reason why we’re so fascinated when people of extreme power, wealth, and fame acknowledge a sense of caring to anything other than power, wealth, and fame. It’s wise, as outsiders and ordinary people, always to remember that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matthew 6:21) — a significant sign of where we put our treasure being where we invest our time, attention, and loyalty.)
“Greater love has no one than this,” Jesus told His disciples in John 15:13, “that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus loved His disciples, like family (“Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,” — Matthew 12:50), and it is notable that He refers to God as His Father and ours, not a co-worker, not a boss, not an expert, not a psycho-therapist. Jesus’s primary relationships include that with His Father and His siblings — you, and me.
A Man of Words
So, to arguably one of the most famous men of all time, family and friends truly and distinctly mattered. With an endorsement of that degree, we honestly don’t need additional ones from anyone else. Indeed, the lip service paid to family by those whose priorities lie obviously in other directions, cheapens the value of the meaningful relationships that are a unique part of all our lives.
Last night, we had a household — every single one of the progeny plus two grandchildren, including the latest, Itsy Bitsy. After a dinner of chicken soup and homemade flat bread, it was time to clean up and parcel out chores: clearing the table, washing the dishes, drying and putting away, sweeping the floor — if you eat, you know the procedure.
As matriarch, I listed the various things that needed to be done (old habits die hard) and commandeered the most essential, and important, activity for myself:
“I’ll hold the baby.”
The Most Important Job
It was a job that I kept up long after everyone else finished theirs, and while nothing tangible was accomplished for the next hour and a half (I didn’t even have to change the diaper), the baby slept — safe, warm, and loved — while I rocked and mused about the relationship between a protector and the protected. Itsy Bitsy won’t remember this day, but I will, the same way I have never forgotten abandoning the laundry in the basket one afternoon while I held, for two hours, a sleeping Son and Heir. At the time, I told myself, “I will never forget this.”
And neither has he, even though he doesn’t consciously remember, because the time we invest in our children, our parents, our cousins, our uncles and aunts and grandparents and grandchildren, and friends isn’t limited to two hours in a chair, rocking, or one afternoon playing cribbage, or one Saturday morning brunch. The time we invest in people is continuous and continual, and the dividends we receive are warmth, laughter, security, sympathy, trust, protection, and deep, deep love.
Family is the cornerstone of normalcy and independence, and the best way to create a neurotic, fearful, anxious, and malleable people is to cut their ties with other human beings who love them, and replace these ties with bonds of laws, regulations, expert advice, governmental intrusion, false societal expectations, and mass media manipulation.
There is a reason why most ordinary people aren’t fabulously rich, famous, or powerful — not because we’re stupid, or because we don’t work hard enough, but because we do not make money, fame, or power our priority. It is also the reason why money, fame, and power tend to run in families, like legacies, because, whether or not extremely rich, famous, and powerful people spend a lot of time rocking their children, they do pass on their earthbound treasures.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God,” the apostle John says in 1 John 4:7. Unlike money or material possessions, love, when divided, multiplies into more, so it is possible to love, and love, and love, and never run out. It is truly a renewable resource to which all of us — regardless of our last name, family dynasty (or lack of it), education, and social position — have access, and all we need to do is use it — give it away — to create more.
People do matter.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage people to seek God’s love, as opposed to religion’s rules, and pass it on to their neighbor.
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