Safe Families For Children launch
As God’s children we are led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14). We’re not motivated by guilt or pressure, but by the individual leading of the Spirit. Even Jesus, The Son, only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19). Jesus security was in his sonship, not his service. At his baptism (before his public ministry began) God affirmed his pleasure in the Son, something clearly not based on performance but on relationship. God wants us to know that same security.
But out of a place of security Jesus LOVES serving God. In fact he described it as MORE satisfying than eating food: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and finish his work." (John 4:34) Jesus would happily miss a meal to do what the Father was asking him! For us too, there is nothing more energising than following the leading of the Spirit, doing the works of God and meeting the needs of the world we live in.
When God created the world he did so with Fatherly love. James 1:17: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights." God wants us to be engaged emotionally with all he has made. As Christians we call God ‘Abba’ Father, we experience the wonder of his personal love. And God wants us to personify that love in diverse ways to our hurting world.
James carries on: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
REM wrote the famous song ‘Losing my religion’. There’s a kind of religion that God views as worth losing! It’s any kind of thing that doesn’t affect how we speak and how we act. It’s the Religion of hypocrisy. It’s no great surprise that true worshippers and followers of this Father take on his characteristics. They look after orphans and widows. They show fatherly and motherly care to those in need.
Broken/struggling family is close to the Father’s heart. In Ephesians 3 Paul says: "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name."
Family reflects God himself, but the devil hates it and sin breaks it. The church is to redeem it by showing the love of a good Father to those who have never experienced it. The bible teaches us all about Fatherly love - how God adopts us as his children. How he welcomes us in and shows us kindness and patience.
Through diverse gifting our church is to show love in diverse ways. In this regard we may learn from the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matt 25:31 that the outworking of care for those in need should feel natural and organic for us (those rewarded by the King for giving water and food and shelter had no idea their actions were so notable; it was ordinary stuff for them). Ordinary acts of love change the world. Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”