Community 2: Most Important
Humans are built for community, to rely on each other for the meeting of needs. Physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual needs all require friends and family. We build relationships with our family first, then outward to friends, later to co-workers, and finally to the surrounding community. Which of these relationships is the most important according to the Bible?
The most logical conclusion is that family is the most important relationship, beginning with the parents, then progressing to the spouse. It started in Genesis 2 (verse 24), where God sets the standard, saying that a man and a woman are to leave their parents, holding fast to each other in the marriage relationship. Jesus Christ even compares this relationship to God’s relationship with the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Hebrews 13:4 even instructs us to hold marriage above all other relationships. Later, when children come along, they are instructed to honour their parents, who will raise them up both physically and emotionally (Exodus 20:12) until they are ready to leave the home to embark on the marriage journey for themselves. Even once you have moved away from your parents, you have a responsibility to honour and look after them. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us, “But 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.” The best example of anything in Scripture always seems to be Jesus Christ. In John 19:26 we see Jesus being an example of this conclusion when He looks after His mother as He hung on the cross, dying. Yet ... there is an interesting passage in the gospels where Jesus Christ demonstrates a more important relationship than family. Mark 3:31-35 says, “His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.””
Our most desired relationship is the close friendships we engage in, since they are chosen. Yes, our closest friendship often is (or at least should be) our spouse, but friendship with someone of the same gender often seems more desirable for the sake of understanding and support, even accountability. Proverbs 18:24 talks about the closeness of a true friend, even closer than the relationship between brothers. It is in these friendships that we find the greatest influence. Proverbs 18:20 tells us that the companions we choose will develop either wisdom or foolishness. In the passage above, Jesus seems to draw this same conclusion, prioritizing His ‘friends’ (disciples) over His birth family. Yet ... 2 Corinthians 6:14, which usually refers to the marriage relationship, reminds us that our most important relationships must be based on unity over the basic doctrines of the faith. We have many friendships, and often a spouse, but in all those relationships, the top priority must be with those who believe the same as you.
While your ultimate relationship is the one between you and your Creator, the human relationships we need the most, that should be our highest priority, is the one between believers. This is the family of God, relationships based on the blood of Jesus Christ rather than human blood. Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” It is our spiritual family that prepares us best for eternal life with God our Father. Our ultimate goal in life is to use our time and skills to prepare for Heaven, seeking to help others along the way. The decisions we make in this brief time we have on earth greatly affect what life will be like after our physical death. Therefore, we need a supportive family that helps us make wise decisions. This family is the family of God, with Jesus Christ as the head. Acts 2:42 describes this family saying, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” I am sure they all had jobs and families, but their spiritual family took precedence over all other relationships.
What about you?