Jesus lived his life as a single adult till his death. Because he lived his life as a single adult, he understands every aspect of what you and I are experiencing today. This series examines the "singleness" of Christ in relation to our singleness with the hope you will be encouraged to walk this journey you have been given. A journey that not only leads to the cross for our salvation but to his resurrection for our future.
Jesus Knew the Responsibility of Taking Care of His Family. Do You?
Bam, bam, bam. Ugh. It's just not coming down that fast! It's another day at my mom's home where I was recruited to help take down old tile in the bathroom. Sure, the vanity was easy to get out and the toilet, well, kind of messy but not too bad. But the tile, that is a whole other story. For some reason I had in my mind it would be so easy to take down. I mean, I had seen it on TV, hadn't I? Just a quick knock with a hammer and whoosh, it should come flying off. Yeah, right! Well, two days later, hundreds of hammer hits, small cuts, not too mention aching arm muscles, it was finally done ... well, the tile was. Now came the work of the cleanup, putting in new tile, a new toilet and a vanity, plus sanding and painting. But you know, it's been worth it. To see my mom smile. To know how much it means to her to have me help now that she is alone.
Last fall, after 10 years of seeing my dad die of Alzheimer's, he passed away. Prior to his death, there had been a slow spiral downward. This spiral was not only in the loss of my dad's mind and body but also in the loss of what my dad could do around the house. My dad, when times were better, would say "if it couldn't be fixed with duct tape and spray paint, then it couldn't be fixed." Year after year, my dad needed more help from me and my siblings, the neighbors and friends. At first it was something small like holding a ladder or helping to carry something heavy. Then it was driving him somewhere, fixing him something to eat or helping him remember a date. Then at the onset of the worse of part of the disease, my dad needed help walking, taking a shower and remember his children's names. He became bedridden. My mom took care of him 24/7 only with the occasional nurse to help. I moved in months prior to my dad's death to help take care of him. Being single made it more convenient. Perhaps the fact the Jesus was single helped with his family, too.
Jesus, like me, was the first born. Perhaps, being the first born, he felt more responsibility to take care of his family. I don't know as I am sure there are many who were born second or last who have felt the same responsibility. From what we know of history, being single during the biblical days was not the norm. Most people were married young and lived with their relatives, helping to raise the next generation. However, we know that Jesus did not marry. From the age of 12 we learn that it was made clear of who he was and his responsibility toward mankind. Slowly, Mary and Joseph had to let go of their son. However, we know that Joseph did teach Jesus a trade of carpentry. Jesus used that trade right up until he started his public ministry. This trade provided additional financial support for his family. Something children did in Bible times. Something children today don't do enough.
Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him (Mark 6:3).
Even though Jesus knew his profession was not to be a carpenter forever, he still learned a craft and supported his family until God changed things. Just like Jesus, God has placed me in places not because of what I wanted but because of what HE wanted. As a single, I have been able to move with more flexibility than my married siblings. Jesus' singleness allowed him more freedom to be available for his family and eventually his ministry.
Once Jesus started his public ministry we gradually learned of who he was. His day-to-day responsibilities with his family changed. He went from being a brother and son to a Savior. But you know what is absolutely amazing? At the cross, as he was dying for our sins, his widowed mother, his friend Mary Magdalene and his best friend John were the only ones there. Jesus remembered his responsibility to his family and asked John to take care of her and vice versa. Even in his last minutes of breath, dying for all the world, he remembered his mother when his siblings had not.
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-27).
This is an example of the importance God places on taking care of our family. Does it mean we are uncomfortable sometimes? Yes. Does it mean it might cost us what we want? Yes. Does it mean we have to put our lives on hold for a bit? Yes. But God will honor your sacrifice for he gave his son to us as a living one. Take time right now and ask God if you are doing all that you can do for your family. Has the Lord asked you to do something and you have refused? Please know I am not condoning parents or family who are abusing your goodwill or have addictions that they are not confronting, etc. I am simply saying to honor your parents in a way that God has asked. Pray for HIS direction with HIS guidance.
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12).
Well, the bathroom is almost done. We have the new tile up, and the walls are now nice and smooth. Tomorrow we are going to do grout. I have never done grout, but hey, I am willing to learn a new skill. Anything to help my widowed mom, anything to honor her and Jesus.
Questions for Discussion or Personal Exploration:
How would you describe your relationship with your parents, your family?
What have you done or not done for your parents, your family?
What has God been telling you in regards to helping your parents, your family?
Read Ephesians 6:1-3. What does mean to you?
Christ, even with all his responsibilities, made sure his mother was taken care of at his death. How does this make you feel?
How has your singleness been a positive or negative affect on your family?
Read 1 Timothy 5:4. What does this mean to you?
Start today to pray and ask God how you can help your parents, your family. Remember that as we build our relationship with the Lord, understand and know his love, we can then share it with others.
**This article first published on June 15, 2010.
Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 20 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is currently working on her third Bible study, From the Manger to the Cross: The Men in Jesus' Life. Her second Bible study, From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus' Life, was published last fall and is available on her websites. Her first book, Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment, was co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources.
TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries helps churches, pastors and single adult leaders evaluate, develop and support their single adult ministries through high-energy speaking engagements, results-oriented consulting and training and leadership development conferences and seminars. Click here to request a FREE "How to Start a Single Adult Ministry" guide.
FromHisHands.com Ministries is Kris's speaking ministry. If you've ever heard her speak, you know that Kris is the kind of speaker who keeps the crowd captivated, shares great information and motivates people to make a difference in the lives of those around them! She speaks to all church audiences on everything from "first impression" ministry to women's topics to singles and young adults. She can speak on a Sunday morning, at a woman's retreat or for a single adults conference. Bring Kris to your church today!
Singles and Relationships by Kris Swiatocho and Dick Purnell
Many singles are Christians who wonder if God will ever bring a mate their way or if they should just stop focusing on a future with a marriage partner and live the single life to the fullest. Kris Swiatocho and Dick Purnell offer solid biblical answers for singles in this newest title in Dick's popular 31-Day Experiment Bible study.