Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Safe Place

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 has been a favorite passage of mine for many years.  It addresses the importance of relationships, both personal and with God.  For those of us who are median and older adults, many, if not most, of the virtues and securities that were the norm in our childhoods have become extinct.  Integrity, loyalty, and personal responsibility are among those virtues that have become so rare.  Job security, financial security, domestic security, and even social security are all at a much higher risk today.  Our culture is becoming a culture of chaos, brokenness, and suspicion. 

Yet, the fact is that we really need each other.  People need people.  It's the way God created us.  "Two are better than one . . ." says the scripture passage.  Perhaps a more important truth to grasp is that people need God and others.  This triangular relationship is that " . . .cord of three strands not easily broken" that the author of Ecclesiastes references in verse 12.  Now I understand more clearly a shocking statement made by an Arizona pastor who said, "A person who has God alone does not have enough."  Indeed, though Adam walked with God face to face in the Garden of Eden, God found that environment and the relationship incomplete.  In fact, God Himself said, in Genesis 2:28, "It is not good for man to be alone."

So, He created two great institutions for meeting that need.  Those institutions are the Family and the Church, in that order.  These are the safety nets that He has woven for times of uncertainty and insecurity.  They are to be the places where virtues and values can be taught and modeled.  They are the places where hope, help, and acceptance are always readily available.  They are the places where love should be unconditional, loyalty unwavering, and personal worth consistently affirmed.  These are to be the safe places for ourselves and our children amidst the cultural storms assailing us.  

Men, fight valiantly against the torrent of enemies that will assault your marriage and family.  Be a godly husband and father.  Women, nurture your family and model the grace and love of Christ for them.  Kids, honor your parents because God demands it.  Let God be that third cord in those relationships because He is the One that will hold things together.  Worship and serve as a family, because the old cliche still holds true . . . "The family that prays together stays together."   

Is your home a "safe place?"  How about your church??  And what are YOU doing to assure that they are?

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