Imagine that you are out shopping and a man comes walking to- ward you with a video camera and a microphone. He is doing person-on-the-street interviews. The microphone is thrust in your direction and the question is, “In your opinion, what is the purpose of family?” There is an awkward pause. Your mind races for something meaningful to say. Supporting each other. Raising kids. Being a safe place. After a few moments you blurt out, “Love.” Not bad. The man thanks you and moves on to the next person. If that were to happen to you, what would you say?
What really is the purpose of family? Why did God create your family? Maybe there have been nights, around 3 a.m., when you have whispered a desperate prayer, “God, why did you give me these kids?” You might feel guilty for even asking such a question, but don’t! If we do not know why we are doing something, how can we possibly do it successfully? Thankfully, God has not left us without answers. He is the one who created marriage and family, and He is the one who gave us our children. Since God created family, He is the one who determines its purpose.
Our journey to discover God’s purpose for our families begins in Matthew 22:35–38. One of the religious leaders of that day came to Jesus and asked Him a profound question.
And one of them, a lawyer, asked him [Jesus] a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
What an important question! In essence, this man asked Jesus, “If you were to boil down the Scriptures, God’s very words to us, into just one thing, what would it be?” Jesus’ answer was powerful. There is a grand purpose to our lives. According to Jesus, we are created to know and love God with our whole being!
The philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in his masterpiece Pensées that we desperately try to find purpose in everything around us but the “infinite abyss” in our hearts can be filled only by God Himself. We were built by God to be in a deep, personal, love relationship with Him; if we do not have it, our hearts are restless and our souls ache. Without a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, there is a constant nagging that there must be something more to life. There must be something to fill the void inside. So we start cramming anything and everything into that void to make it go away. We try money, the latest toys, popularity, sex . . . you name it. The world tells us that if we just grab enough of that stuff and pack it into our lives, we will be satisfied. Sometimes we get what we want and it makes us happy, but only for a short while. Then the ache returns. Jesus, on the other hand, tells us that a love relationship with God is what brings peace and purpose to life here on earth and for eternity to come.
An excerpt from “Visionary Parenting” by Rob Rienow: