Not My Room – A Look at Caring for and Sharing with Loved Ones
Privacy can be a rare commodity for a family of eight. When I was a child, sharing a bedroom was a fact of life. It was a special day when my parents gave me a room of my own. Now I had privacy, and I zealously guarded it. I let my brothers and sisters know my room was off limits. The door was closed.
Are our lives off limits? Have we closed the door? This isn’t about closing the door on a snooping younger brother. It’s about loving this life and our material things so much that we close the door to those in need. Are we prepared to make room for grandmother or grandfather when it’s no longer wise for them to live alone? Will we be ready to take mother in and care for her if she becomes ill or incapacitated? Have we drawn a line in the sand, stubbornly refusing to give up what we have worked so hard for? “Sorry, Grandma, I don’t have the time or the space. NOT MY ROOM.”
Caring for one another is evidence of our faith: But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. … If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:4,8)
An absence of loving action is evidence of a dead faith: Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, – but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:15-17)
Faith must be nourished if it is to thrive and grow. God desires that we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). To that end we spiritually nourish our families with the Word. Through His Word God enables us to love and teaches us how to love. Jesus reminds us that as we care for others we care for Him. He assures us that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). It’s an expression of love for God when we take care of others. The ultimate expression of love is caring for them spiritually by leading them to Jesus.
We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). There is a lot of thought packed into this brief verse. On the surface its meaning seems plain enough. We respond with love to our Savior for the incredible love he showed us by his atoning sacrifice. Although this is certainly true, it is far from an ordinary reciprocal relationship. After all, lurking within us is our old sinful self. We haven’t the desire or ability to love God. It is nothing short of miraculous that we are able to love. By calling us to be his children, God has given us new life and enabled us to serve him. We are now “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Thanks to God it’s a fact: We love because he first loved us.
Putting what we know into practice teaches future generations. Do we exhibit joy when God presents us with an opportunity to serve? Enabled by God we joyfully make sacrifices that express our love for Him. God places role models into our lives who exhibit that kind of love. I recall one woman whose father-in-law was a hard man to like. He was difficult to get along with and had never shown much affection for her. In spite of this, when the time came and he needed a place to stay because of his advancing age and declining health, she didn’t hesitate to take him into her home and care for him. That’s what Christians do. They can’t help it because faith produces fruit – even fruit that shows love to the not so lovable. That sounds like someone we know: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
“Grandfather, we would like you to come live with us. How about my room?”
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