Saturday, March 3, 2007

If family isn't first, then should family be second?

If you're new to the discussion, suffice it to say that Matthew 10 indicates that a family first attitude is not Godly. So, then should family be second? Doug Sherman doesn't think so.

One system for organizing responsibilities has become popular in some Christian circles. It goes something like this: God first, family second, church third, work and friends fourth. This "ladder of priorities" was derived from some of the discipleship passages about Christ having our supreme loyalty. But do these passages really advocate such a priority system? I don't think so....

First, Christ is to have first place in all areas of life (Col. 1:18). He is to be the Lord of our work, our families, and all other areas. Putting God first and the other areas second implies that He is not a vital part of the other areas.

Second, most of life is not either/or but both/and. Rarely does life give us the choice, Am I going to be a good parent or be a good worker? We must do both, with some measure of success.

Third, the ladder approach doesn't consider necessary tradeoffs. For example, if my church wants me to take on an additional responsibility, how would this ladder approach help? Instead it leaves many followers of Christ feeling that no matter how fast they pedal, they're not pedaling fast enough.

Finally, when we put work on the lowest rung of the ladder we imply that work is a lower form of the Christian life. This is simply not the case. Your work matters as much to God as the work of your pastor or a missionary. Legitimate work meets needs that He wants to meet through you.

Sherman instead advocates the Christian pentathlon.


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