The Family: No Substitute Will Do, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll
It's true: there's no substitute for the family! Yesterday I related a rather amusing story about mine. I'm sure you can recall times in your own family that make you chuckle.
Other times those family memories are deeply profound and stabilizing. Who can ever forget the impact of a father's strong arms around the shoulders of his kids following the loss of someone they all loved? Or the comfort communicated by a mother's embrace? Or the hope generated through a family discussion when stress had reached an all-time high? Or how about those occasions when you needed to talk . . . to let it all out . . . and a brother or sister was willing just to listen without preaching or even frowning? Families and encouragement mix well together.
Occasionally, God gives a family memory that becomes so deep a crease in the brain time can never erase it. Pause a moment and meditate on Solomon's psalm:
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it. . . .
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord;
The fruit of the womb is a reward. . . .
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
(127:1, 3, 5)
Three questions emerge from this discussion:
1. Is the Lord really building your home? Stop and think.
2. Do you view the kiddos as His gift, His reward? Gifts and rewards in life are usually treated with special care, you know.
3. Are you genuinely happy with your full quiver? Is it pleasant for the family to be with you?
Face it, friend. When we allow the tyranny of the urgent---the ever-increasing demands---to siphon our tank of energy and interest so that the family is left with nothing but the fumes of broken promises and empty dreams, we are laboring in vain! We are substituting the artificial for the authentic. And that includes Christians who are so busy in "the Lord's work" (?) they haven't time for the home. What a sad contradiction!
It isn't a question of "Am I building memories?" but "What kind?"
Start this week. Right away, in fact. How about tonight? Get reacquainted with those folks who live under your roof and eat at your table and bear your name . . . and prefer you to any substitute. God planned it that way, remember.
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.