January 05, 2022

Who is My Family?

Mark 3:31-35

He looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!”

—  Mark 3:34

In the church I grew up in, we used to sing, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.” This song was special to me because our extended family lived more than 1,000 miles away, and we shared most of our life and ministry with our brothers and sisters (and uncles and aunts) in Christ.

In today’s Bible reading, we find Jesus sharing life and ministry with the people in his closest circle, the ones who believed in him and gave up everything to follow him. Together they were doing the will of God the Father. They were Jesus’ spiritual family.

The point of Jesus’ naming his followers as family was not to dismiss the importance of his biological relatives but to show that the connection with fellow believers was vitally important. God wills for his people to be in community, to strengthen one another in faith, to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). Our witness to the world as Christ-followers can be that we clearly “love one another” (John 13:35).

Sometimes our biological families disappoint, discourage, or dismiss us. But God calls us to a higher and wider network—to be the family of God to­gether. When we love and support one another, seeking to do God’s will and work together, we follow Jesus’ example of cherishing our spiritual brothers and sisters.

Lord, give us your eyes to see and your heart to love all who are walking in faith along with us. May our love for you unite us as your family. Amen. (BMB)

About the author — Al Mulder and Bonny Mulder-Behnia

Al Mulder served as a church pastor in Kansas, Utah, and New Mexico and in ministry roles with denominational missions in North America. He is a member of Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Al and Joanna Meyer, both widowed, married in 2020. Together they have eight children, 19 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.

Bonny Mulder-Behnia began work in ministry after a career in journalism. While serving on staff at Madison Square Church, Grand Rapids, and later at Rosewood Church in Bellflower, Calif., she completed seminary training and is now a copastor at Rosewood Church. Bonny is married to Jahangir Behnia and has two children and one grandchild.

As father and daughter, Al and Bonny have a shared passion for multicultural ministry. Their initials (AM and BMB) indicate which meditations they have written for the month of January.

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