Summary: What does it take, and what does it mean to belong to a Family, especially the Family of God?

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by Pastor James May

The greatest institution that God gave to man is the family unit. The family is where we are trained, taught, and learn to know that we belong. Every member of the family, whether there are a few, or many, develops a sense of belonging that gives them a feeling of self-worth. The family is a place where we can feel safe, where we can feel loved, and where we can establish our roots that will guide us through the rest of life.

I’m so glad to be a part of a family this morning. I have a long line of ancestors that have established the identity of our family name. Our family tree has been traced as far back as Ireland and England, prior to the American Revolution, on my father’s side, and to France on my mother’s side. All of them had their own little idiosyncrasies, and their own little problems, and some of them had some mighty big problems, but every one of them, in some manner or another, has contributed to make our family into what it is today. My family, like yours, helped to establish your morals and values. Through their actions, beliefs, likes and dislikes, your life has been set upon a course.

I read some books a few years ago that dealt with how people get the personality that they have. Your mannerisms, your looks, your thought patterns, and even the way that you interact with other people, are often established by the habits of your ancestors. You won’t have to look far in your family tree to find someone there who acted, or looked, a lot like you do right now. If you are a serious minded, quiet type like me, then you will find that your parents or grandparents were probably the same way. If you are the happy go lucky type that is always upbeat and the life of the party, there’s a good chance that someone close to you in your family tree was the same way. We inherit so many traits that establish our characteristics and there is no escaping your family tree.

Some of you come from a large family where you can trace you ancestry back for many years while others can only go back maybe a generation or two. Some of you have such a large family that you can no longer gather in a single home to have a family gathering. Your family reminds me of a little story that I heard that goes like this.


At the annual family-reunion picnic, a young bride led her husband over to an old woman busily crocheting in a rocker. "Granny," she said, touching the old woman’s hand affectionately, "this is my new husband." The woman eyed him critically for a long moment, and then asked abruptly, "Do you desire to have children?" Startled by her bluntness, the young man blushed and stammered, "Well-uh-yes, I do want children very much." "Well," she said, looking critically at the large tribe gathered around the six picnic tables, "try to control your desire!"

Some of you belong to families that seem to get along with each other pretty well while there are some of you that belong to families that just can’t seem to agree upon anything, anytime or anywhere. Your family gatherings often become battlegrounds and they kind of remind me of another story that I heard.

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