Your family as an "idol"

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Don, May 12, 2003.

  1. Don

    Don
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    Need some help clarifying some things in my head here.

    Heard a man preach the other night on idols, and when he was done, the pastor of the church got up and made the statement that we should never allow our family to become an idol; we should never allow our family to become an excuse not to serve the Lord. Used Luke 14:26 (If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.) as a supporting scripture for this statement.

    Now, I'm of the opinion that this ol' boy meant that some of us will use any excuse we can find to stay home and lounge on the couch. But it occurred to me that a new or younger Christian might misinterpret what he was saying, and take it to mean that the work of the Lord ALWAYS comes before family.

    For those that remember, I left a church a couple of years ago for a similar reason (the pastor made me choose between the church and my wife; I told him at the time that a house divided cannot stand, and I'll always choose my wife before a church).

    What I heard that man say is exactly what I heard that pastor that I left say. Yes, they both came from the same seminary school, but that's a topic for another day.

    Right now, I'm looking for what y'all think. Is this being used out of context?

    I'm of the opinion that our priorities, which are clearly outlined for us in Ephesians 5-6, are based on relationships, not work; and that our ministry is our job, which in the list of priorities comes well after our spouses and children.

    Am I off base? Reading too much into the text? I'm interested in what y'all think about this.
     
  2. Molly

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    Scripture teaches that the marriage is the number one relationship on Earth....God puts great emphasis on this and how to live in a godly marriage. I would be very leary of this teaching that you mentioned! Your reponsibilty as a man is first to Christ,then your wife,thirdly to your children....Christ does not mean *church* work...or ministering to others. In fact,even with pastors,I like to see that his family comes before the church,too....it shows that he is taking care of important things first and the balance of spiritual headship is seen in his family first. I think it is beautiful to see a family ministering to others as a family.

    I think anything can become an idol if your greatest delight is in anything more than Christ....but,if you are loving your wife as Christ loved the church,you are in a sense honoring His Word in a correct balanced way...you are obeying scripture,not having an idol....


    These are my thoughts!

    Molly
     
  3. wizofoz

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    Putting our family before "church" is not necessarily putting our family before God.

    If something happens in my family and I have to miss church because of it, I'm not putting them before God. I still serve God, but part of serving Him is taking care of the family.

    Some people acutally make "church" (not God) their idol; meaning they will be there every time the doors are open, but they don't do anything else away from church.
     
  4. PJ

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    Hi Don. The preacher used Luke 14:26 as his supporting scripture? :eek:

    It's important to attend church regularly, provided we're busy in God's fields outside of joint worship. We know how physically weak and distracted we feel missing a few nutritious meals. We can feel equally as weak and distracted missing a few spiritual meals. There is much work to be done outside of the church walls.
    PJ [​IMG]

    [ May 13, 2003, 09:54 AM: Message edited by: PJ ]
     
  5. Johnv

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    Don, the pastor is guilty of an innocent misinterpretation. The verse in the kjv reads as follows:

    Luke 14:26 - If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

    The word in Greek that the KJV (and others) translates as "hate" is miseo, which contextually means "to love less". Jesus is saying that we cannot come to him and love out family or ourselves more than we love Him.
     
  6. Headcoveredlady

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    Don,
    It sounds very familiar. There are some who preach that we need to be doing the "Lord's work," even at the cost of our families.


    I believe the Bible teaches the exact opposite. The men who are qualified to pastor or be deacons have their own families in order FIRST. And the older women who are qualified to teach are those who have their own families in order FIRST.


    I do not know this man's heart, but I know from some teaching that I have heard that many have this backwards. How much more effective we could be as Christians if our own families were in order, first.
     
  7. Don

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    Couple of points here.

    PJ, I'm not sure what you're saying. Sounds like you agree with the preacher I mentioned, but that you think he used the passage from Luke incorrectly. True or false?

    A couple of times I've read that we should put our families before anything else. I know we think it should be understood, but let's make sure we're talking about God first, family next, and everything else afterwards, right?

    I appreciate the responses. Waiting to hear from someone who agrees with the man I mentioned, and why.
     
  8. Wisdom Seeker

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    [ May 26, 2003, 08:30 PM: Message edited by: 3907 ]
     
  9. Tim

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    I think we all agree that God is more important than family, but as Molly said, God does not equal church services and activities. I don't even think that missing a service here and there will make us any weaker spiritually--we're not totally dependent on preaching for our spiritual food. In fact, let me go further--most churches have too many activities and services per week--and in many cases that does detract from the family.

    I believe God works far more through strong, spiritual families than through an abundance of activities at the church building. Our impact on the world and each other is greater when we practice hospitality at home.

    Too many preachers feel insecure with that concept, and so want to get the church to gather to hear him preach three times a week. Better if he were to spend more time on a really good sermon once a week and spend more time in the peoples' homes--a good place to strengthen families--which are the strength of the church.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  10. Kiffin

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    If your family was in someway seeking to cause you to deny Christ then our love of Christ must over ride our love for them. If one's spouse was demanding their mate not to attend Church then our love for Christ must come even before that of one's spouse (since they are apparently lost or badly backslidden)

    I'm not sure if that's what he meant. I am unconfortable with separating family and Church as well as separating the sacred from the secular. Of course if one's spouse had a accident on Sunday they should be at the Hospital with them in the emergency room and a man should not neglect his wife and kids.


    Family is the strength of the Church and one must nurture their family and spend quality time with their kids. The preacher may be referring to (and I am not sure!) how that many parents put their children's school and sports events before Church attendance, spiritual education. Many parents rightly prepare their children for school, college but often emphasize nothing of a spiritual education. They let their children play in sports events on Sunday while neglecting worship with God's covenant people or how Family reunions seem to always take first place over Sunday worship. In that sense family does become a idol. They however are not putting family first but are actually damaging family with spiritual neglect.
     
  11. PJ

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    Hi Don. I didn't agree with his supporting scripture. Did you say the preacher added his thoughts after someone else spoke? If so, just wondered if the speaker felt the pastor reinforced what he was saying?

    Kiffin stated more of what I was thinking:



    Thus, my comment stressing the importance of regular attendance and the work to be done in God's fields.
    PJ [​IMG]
     
  12. Wisdom Seeker

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    I'll probably get booed for this, but I've studied it out and received councel about it.

    I think the problem that many people have is confusing worship of God with God Himself. God is most important, and worship of God can and should be done in support of the family, not to the detriment of it.
     
  13. Jonathan

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    I think that you are right on. In the same way, many of us also confuse the gifts of God with God. We are thankful for His gifts and enjoy His gifts but how often do we have a mindset that enjoys Him.

    In my thinking, a God-centered person would be able to set the proper priorities in terms of time regarding church activities, family time, etc...

    I know that when I consider how little time that I seem to give God (i.e. time where I exclude everything else) and then think of how much time I spend doing things like watching TV, working out at the gym, preparing lessons for Sunday school, pastoral search committee meetings, internet discussion forum, etc.. I become extremely convicted of how flesh centered I am.
     
  14. PeruSeminary Pastor Enoc

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    I agree with Jonathan when he uses the word "God-centered". I think it is dangerous to think in terms of "first", "second", "third", etc; it promotes conflicts and sin. It is better to use God-centered to remind ourselves that our Lord should rule every area and activity in our lives. I Corinthians 10:31 says: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or wahtsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

    Furthermore, a lot of wrong teachings are caused for putting over emphasis on only one Jesus' phrase. WE should read Luke 14:26 with (for instance) Luke 8:39, where Jesus said: Do not follow me, "return to thine own house and show how great things God hath done unto thee."
    Jesus demanded things according to the idol of his interlocutor. To the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-22) Jesus demanded to sell everything and give the money to the poor people; to Zaccheus (Luke 19:8-10) Jesus did not asked the same requirement. Why? Money was not an Zaccheus' idol.

    So may our Lord help us to live God-centered lives every moment and everywhere. [​IMG]
     
  15. PJ

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    Humbly spoken and to the point. When HE is the center of our lives, all other things will fall in place. Forgive us, Lord, for our shortcomings ...
    PJ
     
  16. Istherenotacause

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    We're not in bondage to serve the Lord, but yet we are His bondservants as in being in the deepset debt anyone could ever possibly owe anyone. We also are to tend our "garden", that is our home. The Lord ordained the family before the church. The old addage,"Blood is thicker than water", it clearly is laid before us to put our families first. This also goes on to say that our service in the Lord is not to become an idol either. Balance is required in any endeavor, "A false balance is abomination". Many will say this only deals with weights and balances and of course it does, not without the balance and the weightier matters we have as duty in serving our Lord. Forsake our family to serve the Lord? or serve the church?

    Our time is to be tithed as well as anything, but our family comes before service, but not our dedication. Our dedication in serving the Lord is to maintain our family or else servitude becomes an idol.

    Our love for the Lord should appear to the world that we "love our family less", but He never leaves us or forsakes us, so why should we?

    With our homes in order, we can be free to serve the Lord with all our heart, body and soul, never omitting the involvement of family in the service of our God.
     
  17. PeruSeminary Pastor Enoc

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    Dear Don:

    I want to know what are your conclusions on this topic. Are you still attending to the church?
     
  18. donnA

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    I think I understand about a family being an idol. I have a friend, they are chrsitians, who no longer go to church, ahven't been regurly in years, although she did visit our chuch with me a few times. To her it's the kids this and that, they don't want to go to church, or whatever. Everytime they go somewhere the kids get something. Like when I was babysitting for them evreytime we left the house they wanted a candy bar and coke, or if we went to wal mart they thought i should buy them a toy. (it's even worse then this)To her she has made her family the god she worships.
     
  19. Don

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    Several conclusions.

    Ephesians 5-6, which pretty much outlines our priorities for us, is emphasizing relationships, not what gets done first.

    There are many today who put their family before everything else--including God. Soccer on Sunday mornings, family vacations, Wednesday night little league, etc. They become separated from the other children of God, using family as an excuse, and like a coal that's been separated from the fire, they grow cold.

    There are some today who encourage the things of God first, no matter what. Working for God MUST come first, they say, and they support this with the Great Commission and verses like Luke 14:26. But this is not what God intended either, for making your work for God--not your relationship with Him, but your work for Him--more important than your family, you've skewed the priorities in Ephesians 5-6 and caused resentment and division in your family.

    So family can become an idol, and your work for God can become an idol. Our job, as with everything, is to balance it all, and ensure--as was pointed out--that God is our center, and that the rest is God-centered as well.

    No, I'm not visiting that church any more. I've met several other pastors from the same bible college that this man is associated with, and they've pretty much espoused the same teaching. One of them I got really close with, and found that the emphasis was the Lord's work to the exclusion of family. I've since visited another church, pastored by a man who has never attended bible college or seminary, but seems to have everything in the right balance. A few more visits, and we'll know for sure.
     
  20. Son of Coffee Man

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    Don,

    This is another reply like the others but I have some info that will clarify. Lets go back to the verse in question.

    Luke 14:26 - If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

    What needs to be understood here is this is a hebrew form of thought. I can say this first, because a jew said it, and second, because of structure. This verse does not say in order to be a disciple of Christ we must hate our family. Can anyone name one verse of scripture where we are commanded to hate anyone?

    No, this verse, as is common with hebrew thought (see poetical books) is comparison. Here is the picture: if what I have for the LORD is love, then what do I have for my family. It can't be love because my devotion for Him should be uneaqualed. Here it is another way: my love for Him = 1000 my love for family = .00000001. Now obviously this is not a perfect illustration but it accomplishes the point. The verse means that the love I have for family should appear to be as hate ONLY WHEN COMPARED to my love for Him. (On a side note I am realizing there is a great lack of understanding concerning hebrew poetry and the hebrew mindset which saturates nearly all of our scriptures).

    Two other brief thoughts: there must be balance. Even a "superchristian" must sleep eventually, though they work alot. Refer to ecclesiastes, everything has a season. There is no thing that is all seasons. I am slightly familiar with the type of "manipulative preaching" if you'll grant me the term, and its main downfall is lack of balance.

    A last thing: You didn't bring up the seminary issue (and I am not trying to change the subject) but it is relevant. On the whole, people coming out of the same school will have a similar view of the scriptures and philosophy of ministry. This also can go for denominations and other groupings. I am not saying groupings are bad (some labels are acceptable).

    You seem to have some idea of your stand on the scriptures. I think you should figure out what the Bible says for yourself and find a church with likeminded people. The catch, of course, is it is scripture that dictates, not our own opinions.

    Hope some of this was a help.

    SoCM
     

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