I experienced a reaffirming lesson in positive family dynamics last Sunday…

As church services were about to begin on Sunday morning, my wife Kim received a text message from my sister indicating that my father had fallen at his home in Cullman, Alabama, and had been transported to the hospital with a mild concussion.  Subsequent messages provided further details, and on our drive home from the worship assembly I decided that I needed to travel to Alabama that afternoon.  I knew that if I hit the road by 1:00 I could arrive in Cullman by 11:00, so Kim quickly fixed me a sandwich while I threw a few “necessaries” into a suitcase.

The only hitch was deciding which vehicle to take.  I just assumed that I would drive my car.  It happens to be without air conditioning right now, but I figured that having the windows down while going 70 mph would more than compensate for the 105 degree afternoon temperature.  That’s when our daughter Hannah said, “Dad, please take my car!”  I objected because I knew she was about to leave for Oklahoma City, and I didn’t want her baking in the stifling heat.  “I’ll drive Mom’s car,” she answered.  “But it’s got a headlight out,” I insisted.  (We had just discovered the headlight problem when we pulled into the garage on Saturday).  “No problem,” she said, “I’ll be back long before dark!”  “But you’ll have to drive my car until at least Wednesday,” I responded.  In a mostly reassuring tone, mixed with a hint of exasperation, Hannah said, “Dad, I’m all grown up; I can sweat!”

Problem solved!  I had a safe, uneventful, climate controlled drive to Alabama and was grateful for it!

I sometimes have a tendency to see problems rather than focus on solutions.  It brought me such a reassuring sense of love, support, and connectedness to have Kim and Hannah step up and find a solution that worked for everyone (save some additional perspiration for Hannah) when I simply couldn’t see it.  We pooled our resources and made some adjustments.  That’s what families do!

That’s what spiritual families do, too!

Just like the Jerusalem church (Acts 2, 4, 6) which generously utilized its collective blessings for the meeting of the needs of everyone, local church families are places where challenges can be met and problems can be solved through the mutual sharing of gifts and resources.  Need to sell a tract of land to meet some needs?  Consider it done!  Widows need to be fed?  We’re on it! 

Just two weeks ago, Mike & Karen Baskett, who work with our youth at the Broken Arrow church, insisted that I drive one of their vehicles while they were out-of-town at a camp in New Mexico.  “It’s just going to sit there while we’re gone,” they said.  “Use it!  Enjoy the cold air!”  What a blessing!

Steve Worley, a dear friend and missionary to Nigeria, has no qualms whatsoever about visiting churches when he is in the States and requesting things that are needed for the Lord’s work.  When we served together in Florence, Alabama, if Steve needed a video projector for a presentation or another van for a domestic mission trip, he would simply go to another congregation and say, “You have it and aren’t using it.  I need it.  I’ll bring it back.  If I break it, I’ll fix it.  It all belongs to the Lord anyway.  When can I pick up the keys?”  That’s how it works in families.         

By the way, Dad is much improved and is at home.  It has been a blessing to spend a couple of days with him, despite the emergency circumstances that brought me here unexpectedly.  Kim got the headlight repaired on Tuesday.  All is well! 

I’m hitting the road at dark-thirty today and am hoping to arrive in Tulsa by mid-afternoon so I can shift gears, freshen up, and make it to a speaking appointment in Stillwater tonight.  God is good!

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