Every year for the last thirty years, my family has gathered at the beach for a week. It’s a time to rest, relax and renew relationships. It’s a time of fun for the kids and time of laughter and enjoyment for the adults (with a little golf thrown in). When the tradition first started, my nephews were young. Now, they have kids of their own. And we all gather. It’s a great time.
But looking back when it all began, no one knew we would continue this tradition for thirty years. Each year, we would decide if we were going again and the answer was always yes. It was hard on my parents in the beginning because the nephew’s didn’t always “toe the line.” They had a bit of rebellion against making beds and cleaning their room to the satisfaction of my Mom. My Mom had girls not boys so she was used to the way girls handled themselves. But over the years, Mom adjusted and we had some of the most blessed times as a family while we were at the beach; precious memories that will (hopefully) never be forgotten.
As I wrote my newsletter this month about Joshua’s commitment to serving the Lord, it was a reminder how my family has been blessed by God because of my parent’s commitment to serve the Lord. The passage found in Joshua 24:15 was engraved on a plaque that hung in the living area of my childhood home. The plaque read “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” It wasn’t much of a plaque but the statement has spoken volumes to the last three generations because of my parent’s commitment.
My parents chose a path for us which has endured many hardships but has brought significant blessings. My parents did well to instill values in the daughters which has passed to the sons and now into the sons and daughters. This generation didn’t know their great-grandparents. They didn’t know about the plaque on the wall. But they have the blessing of the commitment taken years before them. My parents did everything they could to help us as their children to love the Lord.
We were at church whenever the doors were open. It was the thing we did, but it was also a product of the time. However, it has lasted for us as a family. We haven’t always gotten it perfectly. Lord knows, I have had my own difficulties. But God has been faithful even when we have not. God still allowed the hardships to draw us back to Him or draw Him more closely during those times.
Recently, I was reminded that faith, hope and love were the greatest blessings of the Holy Spirit. However, love is the only thing that remains in heaven. First Corinthians 13:13 states: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Faith becomes sight when we see Jesus face to face. Hope becomes reality when we dwell in our heavenly place. But love is everlasting and has been and ever will be the theme of heaven. And it’s the one God commanded us to practice each and every day here on earth – to love God and to love others.
My parents are reaping the rewards of a job well done. I miss them every day. We remember their sacrifices to bring us to where we are today. We wouldn’t be in this place without them. And I thank God for them today and for all the blessings of this week – good weather, good fun and good food. But the real blessing is to know Jesus is loved and taught to the next generation in this place. We gather because of Him. We gather as a family because of Him.
God instills a sense of family in us all because of Jesus dying on a cross so that we would be adopted into His family on our belief in Him. Family is important to God the Father. It’s His way of teaching us about Himself. He is a good, good Father. God loves us like my Dad loved his daughters, although my Dad did it imperfectly, he was a good representation of my Father in heaven.
It’s no wonder our enemy is trying to destroy families. And he seems to be doing a really good job at it right now. Satan hates everything God has put into place to glorify Himself. Family has been in place since the beginning of time. It was the way God created relationships through family. It was the way we were to love one another from the beginning. It’s the atmosphere of the Church Body. Family.
It’s no wonder that Joshua spoke to the Israelites on the verge of conquering the Promised Land to proclaim his allegiance to serve God and not idols. It’s no wonder why my parents chose to hang the plaque on the wall as a reminder – that’s the commitment for our family to do the same. And now, the next generation is being taught this commitment as well. May the blessing continue…
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15