He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”--Matthew 12:48-50 NIV
It used to be that generations of families lived in the same town--or at least in a neighboring town. As the years went by, people went away to college and then settled down in a different city than they'd grown up in. Continue down the years and jobs moved people across country. Now, with technology the way it is, we talk to people across the world on a regular basis, and we don't think twice about it. Families oftentimes live far from one another, and it's considered completely normal.
I know that you may be wondering what the verse I referenced at the top of this post has to do with the first paragraph, but stick with me. Knowing the context of what Jesus was saying, I want to apply it to the situation so many of us now face. For many of us, our mother and our brothers (our father and our sisters) very well may do the will of God and belong to the family of God. However, they may live 1,000 miles away and therefore cannot be present on a daily basis for us. I think the Lord is reminding us, our family isn't just those who share our blood line. Our family is those who love the Lord and do His will.
I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but I have met people (on more than one occasion) to whom I have immediately felt connected. Though our life stories may be incredibly different, our ages may vary greatly, our culture may not be the same, I knew immediately they were family. I remember this happening when I went off to college; I remember it again at a Christian summer camp where I worked; it has happened on each trip I've taken to Africa; it happens in church and in Bible studies. And each time it happens, I am blown away by how the Lord loves me (us) and cares for me (us). He knows we need and desire community, and He is so good to provide it for us.
The Lord created us for relationship--with Him and with others. He showed us this in the Garden of Eden as He walked with Adam and as He also provided an earthly companion for Adam in Eve. He loves to bestow His favor on us, and brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers of the faith are a beautiful part of that favor.
Though the Matthew passage is in no way speaking of families moving across the world from one another, the Lord knew it would happen. And He knew we would still need one another to love and care for each other. His Word tells us how important community is for Believers.
If your parents live nearby, be grateful. It's becoming more rare. If your parents are hours (or days) away, take heart. The Lord has provided for that, too. He has given us one another....
So, who can you care for today? Who is in your family of faith that you need to reach out to this week? What young mom or overworked dad needs an encouraging word from you?....Or maybe it's you who longs for someone to reach out to you. Ask the Lord. He is faithful. He is good. And He will provide in His perfect timing.