I had to take the day off work to help take care of our daughter today because my wife is sick. When she asked this morning if I would stay home, I hesitated – not because I considered abandoning her, but because I was running through my head the various things I’d need to line up to miss a day at work. (When you’re going to have roghly a hundred kids come through your classroom in a day, you want to make sure everything is in order!) There was never a question. Of course I’d drop everything to take care of my family.
Numerous times, New Testament writers refer to their fellow Christians in familial terms. We are brothers. We are sisters. We are family every bit as much as those who live in the same house as us. And just like our inherited families, we can come in many shapes in sizes. We will have the same joys, the same, troubles, the same disfunctions. We all have those relatives with whom we would never be friends if they weren’t related, and we all have fellow Christians that just rub us the wrong way.
But we’re still family, and family looks out for each other.
Think of the early Christians in Acts 2, sacrificing their worldly possessions to see to each others’ needs. Think of Jesus going out of his way to heal Peter’s mother-in-law in Luke 4:38. Think of the tender affection Paul shows to numerous Christians at the end of his various epistles – often enumerating the many ways they’ve helped him or encouraged him. Those early Christians would drop everything for each other, sometimes even going beyond what they could comfortably hands, as did the Macedonians as recorded in II Corinthians 8.
When we know of a brother or sister who is hurting, who is in need, who needs encouragement or support, what should we do? Do we only help when it’s convenient, when it places no burden on ourselves? We should view each other as family and be as self-sacrificial for each other as we would for our closest relatives. Perhaps my employer would be less than willing to give me leave for your your needs, but there are other ways I can help. There are other ways you can help. Let’s be good brothers and sisters toward each other, and prioritize each other more highly in our lives.