Summary: From personal experience, I know that our family flourishes only by the Grace of God and nothing else. It is only by Love that the family unit stays together. How about you?
If you had the power of knowing the number of hairs on my head, you would notice that this week I have significantly lesser number of hairs. The reason is that I have been pulling out my hair ever since Pastor announced that this month’s theme is Family. Last week, Rev Appu spoke about the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus, by asking him a tricky question about money. Jesus was wise enough and he did not allow himself to be trapped. I am no way wise enough, so when Pastor asked me if I can preach on the first Sunday of September, I said yes of course. But weeks later, Pastor in his wisdom decided that the theme is going to be Family. Pastor really managed to trap me. My Goodness, Me, Preaching on Family? All that I can do is joke about Family, Laugh about Family, but preaching about Family is something that I never thought I will be able to do. The reason is simple, I do not believe I still have figured out the success mantra of a Perfect Family. We are not a perfect Family.
When I was in Pondicherry, I was the Manufacturing Manager in IBM and I used to always complain about the cleanliness of the shop floor and the toilets etc to the Admin Manager. It is not that I have a very high sense of hygiene myself. My wife knows that. The first time she came to my village house in Kerala, she was horrified at our sense of hygiene. I grew up in a village, and in a big family. We used to have one bathroom, and one towel for 8 people in the house. Everyone used the towel, rinsed it out and the others used it afterwards. Leslie was simply horrified at the thought. You see, she comes from a background where she used one towel for the face and another towel for the feet and a third one for the rest of the body of the same person. So it was a cultural shock for her. Anyway, I am deviating from the main story here. Like I was saying I used to complain about the hygiene levels in the factory shop floor and the toilets and canteen etc to the admin manager. A few months later I got the shock of my life when the Factory Manager (My boss) appointed me as the head of the Housekeeping Committee. I went and confronted the Admin Manager who had by then become a good friend of mine. He smiled and said (he was a Malayalee, and so he said it in Malayalam). Haven’t you heard about “Entrusting the Key to the Thief” principle? (It sounds better in Malayalam .. “Kallente Kayyil Thakkol Kodukkanam”.) See, God has a great sense of humor, and He chose me to speak about Family exactly because He knows that I am the least qualified person to speak about the topic. God then reminded me about what I said in my previous sermon here. I said , No one is completely useless, and I introduced the T shirt slogan that read “ I am not Utterly Useless. I can be Used as a Bad Example”. God is asking me this morning to put that into practice.
So, I am not going to preach out of my great examples or things that I have practiced in our family life. Today, I am going to preach from our failures, and hope that it will make some sense to you.
Actually, the rules for a perfect family are rather simple. Bible gives us four simple rules to lead a perfect Family life. You know the rules,
• Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"— (Ephesians 6:1-2)
• Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)
• Fathers, do not exasperate your children; (Ephesians 6:4)
• Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (Ephesians 4:26)
So you could look at the Kumar Family and say, oh.. here is a family that obeys all these rules and leads a perfect family life. You will be wrong!! These are rules that we disobey multiple times. That is what makes us imperfect.
But then we realize that we are not alone. Matthew Chapter 1 begins with a long list of Jesus’ genealogy for his human side. One look at the list will tell you that the lineup is far from perfect families or perfect people. The families of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar; Jacob, Leah and Rachel; Judah, Tamar and Perez;
Salmon and Rehab; David and Bathsheba etc. that form the lineup of families to Jesus’ birth are far from perfect families. These are just the families in the genealogy of Jesus. There are many other imperfect families in the Bible.