Is your family more important than God?

What is the most important priority in your life? I am willing to bet that whether your actions said so or not, you would say, “My relationship with God.” But when it comes to making actual sacrifices, isn’t easier to make sacrifices for your family than it is for God? So is your family more important than God?This post was inspired by a sermon I heard on Sunday regarding putting God before your family. The pastor started the message by asking the congregation, “Why do you feel the need to skip church when you have family in town?” Everyone was cracking up because for anyone who grew up in the church, they knew that there was a grain of truth to what he was saying. The pastor went on to explain how churchgoers who attend regularly don’t see the big deal with skipping one Sunday to entertain family. He then compared this situation to Samson and Delilah and how Samson didn’t see the harm in just spending a little time with Delilah. Of course, attending church in and of itself is not equivalent to your relationship with God but attending church is an important aspect of maintaining your relationship with God.

I didn’t particularly agree with the pastor’s characterization but the point of the pastor’s sermon was to note that it is very easy for people to allow their relationship with God to take a back seat to their family. One example he gave was whether or not our goals are driven by wanting to make our families happy as opposed to pleasing God. And I can’t front because during the big events in my life, (i.e. graduating from high school and college) my biggest joy was grounded in wanting to make my family proud. Now I would say that my desire to please my family is not unreasonable but then again, I could be wrong and so could you.

And there are other times when pleasing your family is not the issue but trying to help them through tough dire financial straits. The pastor talked about how tithing can and does take a nosedive when our family needs money. He likened this to a lack of faith in God and an over reliance on your own financial means. The scripture he used to support this point was found in I Kings 17:10-16 that reads;

10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city,
behold, the widow woman [was] there gathering of sticks: and he called to her,
and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to fetch [it], he called to her, and said, Bring me, I
pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12 And she said, [As] the LORD thy
God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little
oil in a cruse: and, behold, I [am] gathering two sticks, that I may go in and
dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto
her, Fear not; go [and] do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake
first, and bring [it] unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For
thus saith the LORD God of Israel, the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither
shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day [that] the LORD sendeth rain upon the
earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and
he, and her house, did eat [many] days. 16 [And] the barrel of meal wasted not,
neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he
spake by Elijah.

If the KJV is difficult to understand, what happened in this passage was that Elijah (a prophet) asked a widow woman for a meal. However, she responded by saying that I’d like to but I am on my last meal and once I make it for my son and I, we are going to die. But God, still speaking through Elijah said make a meal for me first and then make a meal for you and your son. Once she did this, she was rewarded with food for many days.

I understand the logic behind this such that God didn’t need her food, but He needed someone who had enough faith that he can trust with His blessings. But I don’t know if I have enough faith to let someone else eat before I let my child eat. And then I came across a verse in I Timothy 5:8 that states, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” How do you account for this difference?

I don’t know but what I do know is that those who call themselves Christians are disciples of God. Again, we see an example in the Bible of where God challenges us to get our priorities straight. Luke 9:57-62 reads,

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you
wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have
nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another
man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my
father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and
proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord;
but first let me go back and say good bye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No
one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the
kingdom of God.”

Now I know many of us have read that passage before and thought to ourselves, “If Jesus asked me to follow him, I would drop everything and follow Him.” But would you really? I think many of us have been desensitized to the idea of let the dead bury the dead, but seriously, could you see yourself doing something as gargantuan as following Jesus without calling Mom saying, “Hey Ma, I am about to follow Jesus, I might not see you again but I’ll call you later.” Do you have that type of conviction? By now I hope I don’t have to bring up the agony of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

So what’s the point? Well, I haven’t come up with any grand answers because if anything, I’ve created more questions for myself. I just think that when people say God is the most important aspect of their lives, when this is tested against the Bible, cracks start to show. And to be clear, I was raised on the idea of ranked priorities but I have revised my conception of priorities that reflect a circle with God in the center and my priorities spread along the circumference. My challenge is making sure that God maintains the center of my life and making sure I allow God to touch all of my priorities, including my family. So do you let God touch your family or does your family have a circle of its own?

Stay up fam,

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12 responses to “Is your family more important than God?”

  1. ms mimi the mocha soulchild says :

    A few years back, I was struggling with a similar question when a friend of mine asked me about a new relationship in my life. I’d arrived at a point where I promised God that I would never put anything, including a relationship before him. I even vowed to let Him pick the next one.

    This relationship I had appeared to be an all coveted positive one, rooted in true friendship, Christian love, and prayers. I was sure that God had answered my laundry list of things I wanted in a healthy relationship. Or so my meager mind thought. Then the ocean got funky, and I was beginning to wonder, if we had trouble, would he walk away. Love without commitment is useless.

    I was unable at the time, after years of scars to look that statement in the eye, and face it like a woman. I wasn’t a woman. I was a girl who wanted to hang onto my childhood dream— you know that dream that gets you up in the morning and makes life worth living? But trusting God fully means that you trust him with your dreams.

    A friend of mine, who later became a minister asked me,” Michelle do you understand the cost of discipleship?”

    I think we underestimate what it really takes to serve God. Sometimes it means trusting His will when it conflicts with yours, and makes no sense.

    That said, I think that many people don’t even put their family before God. They put jobs, relationships, money, addictions, –everything else before God. It is clear that the bible does not direct us to neglect our responsibilities. Family plays a crucial role in the old and new testament.

    There are numerous scriptures in the new testament where Paul cautions people from entering into marriage, because marriage tends to stifle the ability of a believer to serve fully. Hence the infamous…”it is better to marry than to burn..but if a man does marry he does not do bad” scriptures. Such a great import is placed on familial responsibility that the bible here cautions people to think about the sacrifice they will be making in their personal relationship to God by having a family.

    We also have to keep in mind that in order for the family to be strong as a unit, the individuals have to be strong as a couple, and the individuals within the couple have to have a strong relationship with God.

    I suppose I’m rambling, but what it comes down to for me is that it is easy for us to fall into modern day idolatry. Idolatry is not about worshipping trinkets, it is about anything we place before our relationship with God. We’ve all been guilty.

    Does that mean that we’re going to hell for spending a weekend with family instead of on our knees? I don’t know if I believe that. I believe God requires communion with believers, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be at every youth event, church function, and chicken dinner to be “good servants”. There are times that you should be at your kid’s little league game and watch him strike out. There are also times that everyone should take time out to worship and study the word.

    It means that we have a spiritual connection with God that is paramount. It means that whatever we do we should acknowledge God first in it.

    As I’ve aged I’ve learned a humbling truth: If God ain’t in it, you don’t want it.

  2. Anonymous says :

    I know how much my family including my ancestors have done for me and are still are doing for me.

    Why should I put a concept and or a belief before the reality of my family and ancestors.

    As truth be told the concept of god is a belief and any belief is just that one’s personal feeling.

  3. Anonymous says :

    For some people God is not just a belief. He is ever so real. They hear his voice and have conversations with him. My family is only human and they make mistakes. They have left me alone several times in my life. The only time my relationship with God suffered was when I left him. I love my family desperately but even my family lets me down (that’s ok because I don’t think they are perfect). Whenever I pray though or go to God for direction I ALWAYS feel better. He is my truth. If he is only a belief or(fictional) then I don’t want to be in reality.

  4. Brother OMi says :

    my beef with Xianity (and Islam) is that when our people accept it, they throw their logic right out the window.

    This topic is one of the reasons I ran from the church.

    How can someone tell me that I cannot see God in my children?

    THe Bible has SO MANY contradictions that it is a joke. I don’t mean to offend anyone but where is the logic in our thinking?

    Preachers PREACH and that is all. and Preaching does not involve thinking, interacting, or analyzing in any way.

    PLEASE READ “Holy Lockdown: DOes the Church Limit Black Progress” by Jeremiah Camara

  5. Anonymous says :

    Your African forefathers knew nothing of the European “holy book of god” before “he” allowed them to be put into the most brutal and inhumane form of slavery known to man, most of whom were guilty of no crime. Your “god” has an entire universe to manage, and your planet is a like a speck of dirt which he does not need. Do you actually think that “god” would care if humans ceased to exist? This American “god” is seems to be Satan wearing god’s clothes. Belief is the enemy of knowledge.

  6. Garlin II says :

    Some argue the Bible is European. I don’t agree. Read the book referenced here: The Africans who Wrote the Bible.

  7. Rich says :

    People shouldn’t forget that sometimes we are the blessing to be sent to people. If everybody put all of their money into tithes and spent all day and night in church praying for the hungry – nobody would be at the soup kitchen or consoling those in need – or even celebrating the basic of life with each other.

    My relationship with God won’t end if I skip church one Sunday to spend with family God has blessed me with.

    The story of Elijah isn’t a contradiction. Elijah was giving a specific message during a time of specific need and issued a blessing. How many pastors issue a blessing in the name of God when someone makes a special sacrifice for variosu offerings?

    The message if taken too literally – would be to run out and start fattening up every preacher, missionary and lay person.

    Again – we spend too much time doing that, and noone else is minding the rest of the normal day to day world…

  8. Anonymous says :

    From my last recollection, Yeshua ben Joseph(Jesus)was directly oppossed to the concept of a preisthood lording over the people with idle threats.
    I could imagine most clergy at three in the morning with a knock at the back door. A group of men stand at your back porch, the leader of which is one of the most wanted men in the country. Association with this revolutionary would mean possible death, yet he asks for food and shelter for him and his group. I doubt most preachers let alone “believers would even imagine letting him in, actually alerting the sentries “police” would be the normal reaction. I have faith in the obligation to care for others as I do myself, I would place my faith in the ends to which my families quality of existence first.

  9. Anonymous says :

    This in fact aligns with the profile of Jesus in the historical context of those times.

  10. Anonymous says :

    preachers are good at putting one against the other.What good is it going to church every Sunday and not take care Home.Church is not God… and if God is everywhere than that means he’s also at the family cookout.But then again they [ the church ] can not make money if you’re not there… peace

  11. Anonymous says :

    Many people have never read the bible but want to disagree with what someone else told them. One must account for their own actions, so read the bible your self and don’t base the character of God off of the character of fallible men. God commaned us to love Him will all of our heart, sole, strength and mind. Love HIm above all things becasue He is creator, judge, and king. Look out your window see His creation, but also see what man has done to mess up His creation and alter His church. Many have alter the word of God and used it for personal gain,,,yes,,,,but that is not the nature nor the character of God. They will stand concemn one day as all will who disobey and reject His love and commands. God’s desire is for a relationship with us, we have sin against Holiness since the beginning. Man was pure, holy, blameless but we as many of you have reject Him. He is first of all becuase He deserve it as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He gave His only Son up for our stupid sins again Him, how dare we direguard His love for us and put others and things above Him

  12. jjm says :

    First off, get something clear. Our children are God’s children, the same as you and I. Our kids do not belong to us. We care for them for the sake of God’s way. By giving birth to those children, we become deligated to raise them in a Godly world, partly by protecting them from all the things that make them “worldly”. I see a massive failure of this all around.

    To put your children ahead of God is the same as acting like a god. When He commanded that we provide for our family, He didn’t mean by putting them ahead of Him.

    Also, I totally agree with your propagandic statement: “attending church is an important aspect of maintaining your relationship with God”

    This is not true at all. The home should be your primary church. It’s the place where you can make certain the children get the proper understanding of God and ALL His knowledge. The church gives in small doses. And because it has become a place of tolerance, unlike the first church, it does not direct people to following God at all. Its more about “tithing” which is nothing more than a way to get people’s money. The Bible never required such a thing. And people have been given the misconception that giving their money to the church will score points with God. The church isn’t technically authorized by God and the Bible states that all churches will fall away from God. This has already been happening. Too much tolerance and false teaching, as well as vanity.

    There are ALWAYS needy people in this world. And they need it more than a church. I see churches going out on missions to other countries, but spending no time helping communities. I don’t see them reaching out. And their unwritten dress code and conduct form within the church deters many from going at all. Hypocrisy.

    Do you ever see a fellow church member stop at the side of the road at night, in the rain, to help a roadside walker? Ask for help? Umbrella? Phone call? Never. They deny Jesus in favor of worldly fear and lack of faith. They think hitchhikers are all serial killers. They have no real faith in God to protect them. Therefore they pass up the person and let them walk 2 miles to get help. hypocrites.

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