The open bible for devotion

Devotion – September 2021

Keeping it in the Family

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10.

Families can be complicated things! Growing up, my family was dad, mum, my sister and me. I feel very blessed to have an amazing family. We enjoyed each other’s company and looked forward to family holidays and special events celebrated together. I knew my family knew me, and that was comforting. I could be myself when I was at home. However, that also meant that my family saw me at my worst. Because I was comfortable and felt safe, I didn’t put up a front with them. When I was angry, they knew! When I was sad, they knew! These feelings didn’t always present themselves in the best way and, looking back, my family put up with a lot from me (especially during those dreaded teenage years). But, no matter what, I always knew I was loved and forgiven, no matter what had happened.

The church (I don’t simply mean the building here) can be a complicated thing! God set up the church to be a family. If you were to picture the family of God, the church, at its best, I wonder what you would see? Perhaps it is the perfect postcard-matching-outfit family, all smiles and happy faces. We want to think that the church is like that, happy people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my church family and I love seeing people who are happy to gather together and enjoy each other’s company. But if the church is a “family” then it is full of people who aren’t perfect, and they know it!

When we “do good” to each other, perhaps it is more than being generous with our money or even our time. Maybe doing good for each other means letting each other be ourselves, warts and all, and sharing the goodness of forgiveness and acceptance with each other. For me, the “perfect” church (this side of heaven) is like that safe home, where people can be real and vulnerable and experience the grace of God. Just like in a real family home, sometimes things might be a little messy, but always there is forgiveness and love. When we know we are safe and loved, that’s the place we want to be! What a wonderful family to be a part of.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us the church, our family, where we can share our gifts and grow together. Help us to be generous with our love and forgiveness to one another, just as you are generous to us. Draw your church closer to one another and to you. Amen.

About the Author

Elise von Stanke

Hi, my name is Elise, and I am currently living in Newcastle, NSW. I am married to Mathew, who is the pastor at LifeWay Lutheran Church, Newcastle. We have three gorgeous children, Lily (10), Aaron (7), and Noah (3). I am a Primary School teacher, who loves music, making things with fabric, felt and wool and having conversations over coffee. I also love sharing the amazing news of Jesus’ love and hearing others share their experiences with me.

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