I would like to let each of you know that this is a topic I’ve had on my heart for quite a while and I truly believe these things need to be said…and heard…and taken to heart.
First of all, let me explain why I chose a catch phrase using “Plumb Line”. I grew up with a brilliant father who worked many years in the Construction industry. He was the Foreman on many of the skyscrapers that still stand in Dallas, Texas today. From an early age, I can remember him using an actual Plumb Line to be sure a beam or pan form was “plumb” or level, if you will. That was before the level that construction workers use today. He was an amazing man who built with as near perfection as any human possibly could. I began to think about him as a man, and a follower of Christ. He lived his life “plumb” with the Word as well…he loved God, his family, his church, and others all the same. It didn’t matter to him if someone was a new construction worker, or the CEO whose office he had built on the 20th story of one of those high rises. He knew the Word of God was our “Plumb Line” for living and he instilled in us from a young age how important it was to live a life that lines up with God’s Word. Daddy lived his life “plumb” all of his days, and for that, I am very grateful!
In the early church, not only did the Apostles love and treat each other like family; – all members of the Body of Christ treated each other like family. In our modern society we are watching the “body”of Christ slip away and that makes me sad…and frankly a bit angry. We are not “family” to each other any longer. My “blood” family live in Texas and I’ve known what it was like to have Spiritual family in the past, but now it seems to no longer exist. It appears to me that those who do have family nearby seem to take them for granted at times.
Some [in the church] will say I’m being ridiculous because no one lives that way any longer – that our society has moved past that. Who then, determines how we live? Do we look to the Plumb Line – Scripture – Christ Himself (John 1:1) or do we allow the world to so influence our thoughts and actions that we compromise our values and common goals, or worse yet, allow ourselves to live selfish, narcissistic lives?
There are a few areas in particular that really chap my hide…
The most important to me is child care for my daughter in the summer…EVERY year since she has been on this earth (10 years now) I have had to search for weeks, somtimes months to find a suitable sitter for her. THIS SHOULD NOT BE THE CASE!! Surely there is someone within my circle of “friends” or Spiritual family that would be willing to make some extra money and hang out with my intelligent, sweet daughter in the summer while I work (a necessity which, God willing, will be eliminated some day).
Another situation that needs to be addressed with Spiritual Family is our insensitivity to our own “family” members. For instance, if you are a business owner and you know someone in the church who has valuable skills and experience, yet you refuse to hire them because if it doesn’t work out it would make you uncomfortable, that is not a legitimate reason. After all, God calls us to be obedient and love one another; He doesn’t call us to be “comfortable”.
We must remember that God allowed man to discover all the technology we have today. HE IS STILL IN CONTROL! If you have a friend who REALLY needs to speak with you either on the phone or in person, yet you refuse to take their call or meet for coffee because you would rather text, that again, is a lame reason for not being there for your “family” member.
I’m not saying that I am perfect nor do I always get this right, but what I am saying is we ALL must take an inventory of our attitudes and actions, especially when it comes to our Spiritual Family. The world gets this right more often than we do and that should not be the case because WE ARE ETERNAL FAMILY!
Below are some Scriptures that model Spiritual family. I really think it’s no coincidence that the church I grew up in was named Macedonia Baptist Church…
Acts 4:32-37 NIV
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
2 Corinthians 8 NIV
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” Thanks be to God, Who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord Himself and to show our eagerness to help. We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.
Galatians 6: 1-10 NIV
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the Word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
1 Thessalonians 2 NIV
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you His gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, Who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, Who calls you into His kingdom and glory. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
1 John 3:11 -24
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. And this is His command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you – certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
In closing, let me ask this question – when viewed through the world’s eyes, are we plumb with the Word? Does our walk match our talk? Do we REALLY love one another? If we don’t bear God’s love for us and each other, what should attract the world to us? We really are no different from them…actually, in some cases, they “love” better than we do and that is a shame because God is Love…