Lockdown has given us additional time to think deeply, re-prioritize and re-evaluate, and to make new life decisions. So many funny and entertaining messages with visuals have landed on our phones as families have had to learn to get on and share space and time. This has led to families learning how to manage frustrations appropriately and loads of patience! Homes have turned into battle-grounds at times, but these mostly end in sweet moments of forgiveness and laughter. There has, for many, simply been no other choice but to simply get on and adapt to the current lifestyle. Most families have drawn closer together, while others have gritted their teeth and longed for the way things were.
Either way, families are treasures and leave us with memories that flood our hearts and minds. In years to come, these weeks will be reminders. Hopefully, they will turn to many hours and days of imparting love, grace and acceptance for another and children will return to school with new mindsets of values and gratitude. I thought much about this and turned to studying some famous characters. One such hero was Abraham. Why was he called God’s friend? What made him God’s choice to be the father of His chosen nation? Why would he be the one through whom all nations would be blessed?
He had the characteristic of irreplaceable value. He was but a farmer. Not a professor or prophet or statesman. What was seen in him to become the chosen vessel for an Almighty God? Settling to read Abraham’s story, which is certainly fascinating, I chanced upon a verse that taught me a lot. “For I (God) have chosen him that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has promised him.” Genesis 18:19.
Abraham was God’s choice because he could be trusted with his family. To raise children who would do and live righteously. There was not just a nation at stake, but all nations. Parents have such a massive mandate and I hope and pray that this time was used prudently by parents to instil justice and righteousness. Good character, not just academics. What a glorious opportunity.
My mind was turned to yet another great man. A leader of great value and purpose. His name is Joshua. A leader of a pioneering nation. A massive responsibility. A man of humility but great wisdom. Joshua had very big shoes to fill in taking the lead after Moses! A little verse in one of my favourite passages of Scripture awoke a key to his character. In Exodus 33 we read of Moses going to the Tent of Meeting. This tent was open to all so they could meet with God, but Moses went ‘whenever’ he needed to. I should imagine often, considering his role as a leader. There God would communicate with Moses ‘face to face’, but verse 11 brings a beautiful picture to us of Joshua.
After Moses left the tent, his assistant Joshua, the son of Nun, still a young man then, would remain and spend time with God. Wouldn’t we all like to know the conversations and impartations and training this young man gained from his additional time with his God? Joshua was faithful, not just with his leadership role, but also with his family. We read of his exploits and failures and successes. But we read also of his leadership within his own family. He declared publicly in the book of Joshua 24 verse 15: “… choose this day whom you will serve, … But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” A family requires leadership.
Being a granny myself, my mind turned to two ladies we know very little about, but the young man whom they had raised, we know quite a lot about. This mommy and granny were credited for the good character and faith of Timothy. We read about how the Apostle Paul mentioned them in the second letter to Timothy that he wrote, saying: “ I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and now in you, as well.” 2 Timothy 1:5. Within a family setting, there is no role which is not of value. Families passing on values, character and faith are of utmost importance.
Lastly, my mind turned to Joseph and Mary, the earthly parents of Jesus. Jesus worked alongside his daddy in the shop of a carpenter. To most of modern-day folk that would be considered a very lowly place of work. It is hard work that requires precision and patience. It is not a very ‘high-class’ job. Yet, there Jesus laboured alongside his dad and his mother and his siblings. There they produced practical and useful items. Families today still have that responsibility. That they ‘produce’ valuable vessels to serve and lead and bring forth that which is useful and practical for their fellow-man. A calling to fulfil a God-given destiny for good.
To all the families – have a fruitful time together and don’t miss this opportunity to impart truth, value, love and loads of laughter. Why not plant a family tree as a reminder of a time when the world changed, thus also growing the environment.
African Blessings Missions Director