Family Is More than Blood

Family line-upMark 3:20-21, 31-35

Jesus went home, where a crowd gathered before they could even finish dinner. When his family heard about it, they came to put a stop to him. He’s gone mad, they said.

So his mother and brothers came and waited outside, sending a message in calling him. All kinds of people were sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are calling for you.” But he said, “Who are my mother and brothers?” Then looking at all those sitting around him, he said, “Here we are! Whoever does the work of God – they are brothers and sisters and mothers to me.

For some (including Jesus), one of the greatest barriers to doing what you’re called to do is the people who are closest to you. Your family.

You want to be an artist, but your parents want you to be a doctor. You want to be an actor, but your parents want you to be a lawyer. You want to go on a diet, but your family sits around all evening eating potato chips and ice cream. You want to go back to school, but your family wants you to stay home and make dinner. You want to run for office, but your family thinks you’re crazy.

Blessed are those whose family supports their hopes and dreams. For the rest, take a page from Jesus’ book:

Do what you’re called to do anyway, and surround yourself with other people who believe in you and what you’re doing – a new family – who will support you in what you’re doing. A crowd of people sitting around you does two things:

  1. It gives you the support and affirmation you need to do what you’ve got to do to be you, and
  2. It gives you a little insulation when your kin are trying to shut you down (the Greek kratasai is literally, “to arrest, to detain”).

In a nutshell: surround yourself with people who believe in you, whether or not they happen to be kin.

[Please note: I’m not advocating going off and getting a divorce or running away or completely cutting off your relatives whenever you have disagreement. That’s not what Jesus is doing here. It’s implied that when his family gets with the program, they’ll be his family. Ultimately, the goal with families, too, is reconciliation. But sometimes to get there a little distance and a little cushion from those who have the greatest self-interest in conforming you to what they need is a good thing.]