The military has roll call – reading out the names to see if everybody’s there. Family get-together? Well, you know who you’ve got. You’ve got Mom, Dad, Grandma, Granddad, and grandchildren. You don’t usually have roll call. Now, there was a point where we had one three-year-old grandson who took roll in his own little way. While we’re all busy in the usual chatter and bustle of everyone catching up, our grandson was obviously evaluating who’s there and who isn’t. You could tell. Before very long, he would pipe up, “Where’s Grandma?” or “Where’s Daddy?” or whoever happens to be MIA at the moment. And he wanted answers about where they were and why they weren’t there. He wanted every person in the family to be there!
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Making Sure the Family’s There.”
If you belong to Jesus Christ, and you know your sins are forgiven, when all of God’s family gets together in heaven, you know you’ll be there. But what about your family on earth? Will they be there and are you doing what you need to do to help them be there?
It’s easier to tell almost anyone else about Jesus isn’t it, than it is to tell someone from your family? You can go to Mexico on a missions trip and tell people there about what Jesus did for them…you can say a word to someone at work or in a restaurant or in your neighborhood. You can be real involved in Christian activities that are aimed at helping people be in heaven with us and seldom if ever explain to your own family members what Christ has done for you and what Christ did on the cross for them. Probably because it’s just plain hard.
The priority of Jesus for us as His ambassadors shows up in a story recorded in Mark 5, beginning at verse 18. It’s our word for today from the Word of God. The Bible says, “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him.” Jesus had just set this man free from years of spiritual bondage. “Jesus did not let Him, but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in all the Decapolis (which was his home area) how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”
It would have been easier for this man to go with Jesus and run around serving Him everywhere but home. Just like some of us. And we should be spreading the Good News about Jesus, of course, to people that God brings into our life and we should be a part of His mission to reach every lost person. But it should start at home. Maybe Jesus is saying to you today, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.”
How do you do that? First, pray by name every day for the lost members of your family. Second, evaluate what about you might be making them think less of Jesus – maybe your temper, your selfishness, your mouth. Whatever it is, take some time to let Jesus change it. Your family needs to see a difference in you that will mean something to them.
Thirdly, let them know how much they mean to you. Sometimes a letter might be the best way to do that – a letter with four main parts. Here they are: “I love you,” “Thank you for,” “I’m sorry for,” and “I wish we could.” In that last part, talk about how you hope your relationship can be from now on. And let them know how much you want to be in heaven with them forever.
Sometimes, our family members think we’re condemning them, but you may need to say, “If being good could get anybody to heaven, you’d probably be on that list. But I found out that our only hope isn’t how good we are. It’s what Jesus did and what we do with what He did for us.”
Don’t nag them. Don’t argue religion with them, please. It’s not about religion. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about His cross. So stick to that. Pray for an open door to their heart and then for God’s courage and words to go in when He opens the door. God rescued you so the people you love could have Jesus within their reach, living in someone they know. So, please, do all God wants you to do to help everyone you love be in heaven with you forever.