Summary: One of the closest things to the heart of God is the family. God created the family to be in relationship with him. God created the family to be in service of him. God created the family to mentor future generations of followers. It’s a family affair. In
Rebuilding: A Family Affair
It’s the most powerful institution on earth! No, it’s not the United State Congress or the Supreme Court for that matter. And it isn’t the Presidency, the World Court or the United Nations. Although such institutions are singularly powerful and no one individual would ever wish to come up against any of them alone, there is no man-made institution more powerful than the first institution created and the one that has remained with us for the longest––the family. When God created the family, He did so with a purpose and plan. This was not to be an institution that would last for some time; it would be an institution that would last for all time. Able to withstand the mightiest pressures of economics, politics and society, like a cedar planted on Lebanon’s hills, it had to be enduring, a bulwark of strength and a bastion of security. God had a plan when he blessed Adam and Eve with children and that plan did not include failure.
What is it that empowers the institution of the family and perpetuates it? Is it something more than a divine idea? Is there a tangible force within it that both confirms and enables it?
At age 16, Andor Foldes was already a skilled pianist, but he was experiencing a troubled year. In the midst of the young Hungarian’s personal struggles, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to Budapest. Emil von Sauer was famous not only for his abilities; he was also the last surviving pupil of the great Franz Liszt. Von Sauer requested that Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged with some of the most difficult works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, von Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead. “My son,” he said, “when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, ‘Take good care of this kiss––it comes from Beethoven, who gave it to me after hearing me play.’ I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve it.” As parents we possess an awesome weapon, one that no institution on earth can equal. We possess the power of the legacy. Now, it is our job to make sure that the power and example planted within us by our parents is passed on to our children. That’s what empowers the family and perpetuates it.
One of the closest things to the heart of God is the family. God created the family to be in relationship with him. God created the family to be in service of him. God created the family to mentor future generations of followers. It’s a family affair. In order to build strong cities, Nehemiah realized he needed to start with the family. From the 44 groups listed in Chapter 3 to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, we see one particular group, families, and learn several lessons.
First, families continue by passing on a legacy or blessing. The word blessing appears more than 700 times throughout the Scriptures. This was the means that grace, power and encouragement could be poured into the lives of others and as parents, into the lives of our children. Rolf Garborg in “The Family Blessing” writes: “The Old Testament word for blessing is berakah which means the transmittal or endowment of God’s goodness and favor. For Abraham, the berakah was God’s spoken declaration of favor that would convey God’s power to make him into a great nation able to transmit that divine favor and power to the whole world. The Hebrews believed that the spoken word carried with it great power for good and evil…..When we recognize the power of the spoken word for good or evil in our daily interactions with those at home, we can learn to use that power intentionally to bring blessing to our children.” The first kind of blessing is the spoken word.
There’s the story of a woman whose dad owned a grocery store when she was growing up. Several times a week the milkman would deliver milk to the store, and every time he saw her he would say, "How is my little Miss America doing today? So beautiful, so talented." This went on every day for years and years, "How is my little Miss America doing today? So beautiful, so talented." When she became a high school junior she entered her first pageant. Her goal was to become Miss America which she won in the 1980’s. In her acceptance speech she gave the credit to the milkman saying, "Those words motivated me and shaped my life." Think about the power of words and the impact they can have. Then think about the power of the words of a parent or a grandparent when they put their arms around them and say, "You are loved. God treasures you and I treasured you. You matter." Words can impact a person for the rest of their lives.