Posts tagged ‘family’

Do I Really Love Jesus More than My Kids?

Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”  “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”   Luke 18:28-30

I’m a dad and I think that every parent would easily say there is nothing they love more on earth than their own children. When my son was only 2 years old, he slumped into unconsciousness while sitting at the dining room table eating lunch. I panicked. I had no idea what was happening. As a physician I knew I needed to check for a pulse and breathing. As a dad I was paralyzed with fear. I instinctively picked him up and took him to my bedroom where I placed him on the bed. I quickly realized I was useless and needed to get him to the emergency room where there would be a doctor who could actually help him. We lived a block from the hospital at the Subic Bay Naval Base so within 5 minutes my son was being evaluated by a doctor who could actually be of benefit. He was diagnosed as having a petit mal seizure. Today he is in great health at the age of 28. But in that moment in the Philippines, I would have paid any price, even my own life in exchange for his life. That is when I realized how much I love each and every one of my children.

In Luke 18, Jesus tells me I need to love Him more than my own children! That’s a lot of love. When I think about what Jesus is saying here, I think about my own kids. I have to ask myself if I really love Jesus as much, let alone more, than I love them. I have walked away from a lucrative medical practice because I love and trust Jesus. I trust Him with my life. But I honestly do not know if I love Him more than my own kids. I’m just being honest. And yet there is no one or no thing on this earth that can give me the peace I receive when I submit my life to Jesus. When I talk with Jesus and hear His voice in my life, there is nothing on earth that comes anywhere close to that experience. 

Perhaps the question I need to ask myself is this, Would I follow Jesus even if my kids said they would never talk to me again? It’s a sobering question. I am thankful I have never been faced with such a decision. But it does makes me think about my relationship with Jesus, which is exactly what He wants me to do. So instead of trying to measure my love for Jesus, I will spend time with Him everyday. I will talk with Him throughout this day and each coming day. I will listen to His voice. I will treasure the time I have with Him. I will do what He asks. I will follow where He leads. I will embrace the journey as I revel in His presence. And I will leave the measuring up to Him.

 

 

Connections: Aren’t They Really about Family?

I was a third year OB/GYN resident at Bethesda Naval Hospital when I was required to live and work at the MarineHands1 Corps base, Camp LeJeune located in North Carolina for three months as part of my obstetrical training. In the big scheme of things three months isn’t much, but it seemed like an eternity as I left Pam and our three children in the Washington, D.C. suburbs for the solitude of the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters) in North Carolina. I was sent there to gain more experience in obstetrics (delivering babies). What I learned was the importance of my family. 

We talk about the need to connect with others, care about others, and reach out to others, which is important. However, at Camp LeJeune I discovered the most basic and formative connections we make are those with our own family. I’m astonished at how easy it is to take for granted our relationships with our spouses, children, brothers, and sisters. And yet the family unit, the home, is the God-appointed place for us to learn how to relate to one another. The home is a “testing ground” of sorts. It is the place God designed for us to learn relational skills. 

During those three months at Camp LeJeune, I thought carefully about how much I treasured my family. I thought about my attitude toward them and how often I interacted with them out of selfish motives. It was the beginning of a long journey for me to understand how precious my family truly is to me. Though I missed them dearly when I was absent from them, I knew that I often treated my car with more love and respect than I treated them when I was present with them. It was then that I determined to make a shift in my life. I realized that my priorities were amiss. I had seen things as more precious than people. Too often, my car, my job, my reputation, my status was more important than my family.

It’s been a challenging and yet rewarding journey toward treating my family as the precious gifts they are. Once I learned to value my family as precious, I slowly realized that I was beginning to see others as precious as well. I am thankful God is patient with me and has never given up on me. No matter what our family relationships have been like in the past, God can transform us into people who can connect with others beginning with our family today. It’s up to us. It is in this context that Paul writes in Colossians 3:

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

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