A Model Christian Family
By bro Marc Wee
Everyone wants a happy family. One would go to great lengths to ensure that one’s family members are happy and have the right environment to do their best.
But we might have different standards of happy, right? What brings us joy may not bring another person joy.
But when I read a particular verse during our daily Bible reading (I will discuss more about it later), it struck me that this is something that a Christian family will look forward to. I realize God has already given us the blueprint on the model family and how we can go about achieving that.
Recently, in the news there has been much brouhaha over this year’s PSLE math paper, how because of Ivan and Helen, some felt that their dreams of entering a top school have been destroyed. Some vomited and got so upset that they even flipped tables.
Is getting into a top school that important? The government has said that all schools are good schools. How did children get the idea that going to a good school is that important? Could it be peer pressure? Friends egging each other on to get into the best school? And where did their friends get the idea from? I do think that it stems from the family - parents telling their kids how a good school will set them apart from the rest of their peers. Is that what it means to be a happy family?
Kids in good school?
Staying in a comfortable house?
Parents able to give their kids everything they want?
But, in the following verses, they clearly teach that if one fears God and follows His instructions, one will be blessed. We need to understand what God wants and not what we want. Be humble and fear and submit to God. Think on these verses:
Psa 128:1 - A Song of degrees. Blessed is everyone that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
James 4: 12 - And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
We see in these verses that God will exalt those who are humble. First, we must be humble to be able to see what God wants, how He wants us to lead our lives, and what will bring us happiness. As parents, we tell our children not to do certain things, things which you know they will not be happy doing but which they insist will make them happy. However, they go ahead and do so, and true enough they are unhappy. As parents, you know their nature and know them inside out. The same can be said in these verses where God tells us to follow His plan. He knows what will make us happy because He made us and we will only be truly happy walking in His ways.
And God tells us what will make us happy:
Psa 128:2 - For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
1) To labour with our hands, and work for it
To make something is very different from buying something. Here God says that we shall enjoy the labour of our hands, and in the subsequent verse, goes on to say that our fruits are our wife and children.
Psa 128:3 - Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
You know, vines provide both shelter and fruits. The fruits provide food and drink which is for our sustenance. The writer says that the wife shall be a fruitful vine to provide protection and sustenance for the household. The writer goes on to say that children are like olive plants. Did you know how useful an olive tree is? Firstly, its fruits are used for food and oil. The tree itself can give shelter especially in harsh weather. It is extremely hardy and can last centuries and go many months without rain. The benefits of a fruitful family are further emphasized in the previous chapter. In Psalms 127:3-5:
3 One can imagine that family
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate
One can see the benefits of having a fruitful family. They will give you happiness. Coming back to Ivan and Helen now, is doing well in your studies or having a successful career not important? All I can say is, refer back to Psa 128:1- A Song of degrees. Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
Many of us may struggle to do what God wants us to do and we would much rather do what the world wants us to do.
But I always come back thinking, in the short time I have here on this earth, should I be like a seed planted in good soil, in Mat 13:3-9?
Or should we be like the seed that grows in stony ground in Mat 13:20-21?
We are grateful to be baptized and given a chance at salvation. But we slowly fade away because we do not take root, and when trials come, such as problems at home, do we leave for somewhere else that might not be so ‘strict’? Perhaps to a liberal church where they might say, “It’s ok not to attend worship and bible class, children’s exams more important.” Where is the faith that God will take care of us?
Or should we be like the seed growing in thorns in Mat 13:22? We hear the word and know it but we get caught up by this world and slowly begin to be like the world. We also influence our spouses and children. We leave the Lord’s church and find one that practice the prosperity gospel or one that condones divorce. The reason there are 45,000 denominations is that man keeps refusing to accept God’s ways and tries to justify that his is The Way.
Having a God-fearing family helps in our spiritual journey because we can find support even when there is none outside, that even without the support of the secular world, there will be support at home. The wife is the vine to support and shelter the home. The children are olive plants and will give you much joy and encouragement.
And, because you have tended it with your own hands and hard work, you appreciate the fruits that it bears.
Let us be encouraged to know that God always has a plan for us. What’s left is to trust him and be sure that He will take care of our needs to sustain our lives here on this earth.