“He *came home, and the crowd *gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses.’”
(Mark 3:20-21 NASB)
I liked the phrase “His own people” because it’s commonplace in this world to call your family “your people.”
We can probably all relate to this sentiment. I’ve felt it many times, sitting at the dinner table, this sense of, “there’s nowhere else I’d rather be” kind of delighted satisfaction and contentment.
We can thank God for that, and while thanking Him is spiritual, there’s nothing particularly spiritual about feeling that warm and fuzzy feeling.
Jesus tells us that God gives good gifts to EVERYONE:
“…your Father who is in heaven… causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:45 NASB1995
Even so with the dinner-table feeling, “mmmmm, my people!” - that is like God’s rain, falling on the righteous and the unrighteous. And for sure, the righteous will turn back to praise every time they feel that — much like the righteous thank God for the sun and the rain — but what is my goal, for myself and for my kids?
To feel that warm fuzzy more often? For them to reciprocate the warm and fuzzy? Or to be like Jesus?
Who Were Jesus’ People?
About 10 verses later - after “His people” are dispatched, we read, “Then His mother and His brothers *arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they *said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.’ Answering them, He *said, ‘Who are My mother and My brothers?’ Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.’”
Mark 3:31-35 NASB
But who did Jesus call His people? We see a big shift!
“You guys say ‘My people’ are here, but I’m telling you:
Whoever does the will of God, that’s My people.”
What gave Jesus the warm fuzzies, spiritually speaking, was seeing people eager to do God’s will. He felt that same sense of delighted satisfaction and contentment, the one we naturally feel at the dinner table, in the presence of disciples eager to do God’s will.
This is a defining characteristic of a spiritual person.
A Simple Test
How do I define “my people”?
Look at where I get my satisfaction!!
I don’t need to be condemned if I feel it with family - thank God for it, praise God and cherish and savor that.
And “come up higher,” too!!
If I relish my family, and yet am indifferent to God’s people, and have no relish for those who want to do God’s will (no matter how different from me they are in the flesh), then I am not a spiritual person!
Don’t comfort myself with thoughts of how much I enjoy gathering around the dinner table, thinking that’s evidence of my spirituality.
It’s a good gift, for sure! But there’s more!
I’ve heard so many people quote the apostle John in reference to their families, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”
3 John 1:4 NASB1995
But here’s the thing: John wasn’t speaking of his family!!!
He was speaking of Gaius, a leader of the church, who was “beloved” (1, 2, 11) in the Lord. God had so transformed John’s affections that he had the same mind toward Gaius that Jesus had towards those who loved to do God’s will: Gaius was his “child” in the faith.
I was challenged to see the Apostle Paul’s example of this same tender love for God’s people: at the end of the letter to the Romans, he greets 27 different adults in that church by name, despite the fact that he’d never been able to visit them in person!
It’s not about time together. That is largely outside of our control. But we can all seek to cultivate a heart that loves God’s people as our own.
Let’s ask the Lord to pour His love for His body into our hearts, that we might build upon a strong foundation of love for our families — encouragement and patience and gentleness and kindness in the home being absolutely foundational to our Christian walk and usefulness in the body — a love which extends to and encompasses all of those whom He has gathered and stirred to do His will.
And let us long for our children to become wholehearted disciples who love not just their siblings and parents, but the body of Christ, and all who long to do God's will, too. May God's people be our children's people, too!
“…We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
Ephesians 4:15-16 NASB