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(06.07.05--Family--Eph. 6:1-4)

The American family under assault! Did you know that one out of three children in the United States are growing up without a father present in the home or that last year in a number of major U.S. cities more children were born out of wedlock than within? These are just a few of a number of startling statistics indicative of the current crisis in the American home. Homosexual marriages, divorce, spousal assaults, violent crimes within the home; these and other alarming statistics are strong indicators that there is a very serious disease affecting homes in our country today.

Yet, although any one of these indicators is alarming, there is one very subtle symptom of disease within the home that may be even more impacting than all of these combined. It is the growing number of families that are what some family counselors are calling “driving while intoxicated.” These are the the traditional American mom, dad and kids families that on the outside seem they have it all together; but on the inside things are pretty rotten. Parents driven to almost anything in order to grab the brass ring and kids whose priorities are focused on winning at any cost. These are the families that are rotting from within because they are self-consumed, intent on sacrificing everything in order to succeed outside of the family. They are driving at a break-neck speed, out-of-control and in serious danger of crashing.

I am reminded of the old story of the two paddleboats that left port about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River. As they traveled side by side, the sailors began to taunt one another, challenging words were exchanged. Finally a race began.

After a time, one boat began falling behind; its fuel supply nearly expended. Although there had been plenty of coal for the trip, there had not been enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal, they fueled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, but burning their cargo.

In the Eye of the Storm author Max Lucado calls this a crisis of “program over priority.” Parents that have put their “program” of succeeding at any cost ahead of the precious “cargo” than God has entrusted to each of us. These are the families that seem okay on the outside, but on the inside they are wasting away. They harder they strive to get to where they think they deserve to be, the more and more of their precious cargo of love, forgiveness, understanding and spiritual growth they need to burn to get there. They may “win” the race; but getting there without their “cargo” is hardly worth it.

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