Family Big Enough?
. . . a threefold cord is not quickly broken—Ecclesiastes 4:12
In the family context, building community means building expanded families around our existing, immediate families. These family “expanders” are trusted friends—followers of our King, Jesus Christ—who know us, know our kids (if we have them), know our wives (or girlfriends or fiancées), and know about our parents and siblings. They know the stories of our families and the stories of the individuals within our families. They connect long-term, across generations. They know the good and bad—and still choose to share our lives: meals, recreation, celebrations, holidays, traditions.
Why do we need them? Well, life together is hard—hard for adults, hard for kids. We all need all the help we can get. And, if we’re not proactive and intentional in securing help, it either won’t come or it’ll come, but from places less-than-ideal. Parents can get isolated—or be too much influenced by prevailing culture. Kids can get too little direction—or be too much influenced by peers or unprincipled adults. No, it’s critical that we be proactive and intentional. The Apostle Paul wrote: “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
If we are proactive and intentional, though, we can influence just who’s going to influence our families—ensure the right people are supporting, encouraging, and challenging us as fathers, husbands, sons, brothers; and the right people are speaking truth into our kids.
Okay, so what do we do?
Expanded families aren’t built without work. They take investment and reciprocity. No one will share our lives if we don’t share in theirs, too. Pray today, brother, about who should be in your expanded family. Reach out to them. Be explicit. If they buy-in, co-develop a practical plan to connect more closely.
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