How attached are you to the world? Until about eight months ago, I have never owned a house. I rented through college and grad school, then I moved abroad where foreigners are not allowed to own property, and then I returned to the states and continued renting. My husband and I decided to invest in a house, hoping that [when] we get to serve abroad again it would be available for people passing through to use. And we got a cat. She is so much fun, she follows us through the house, greets us when we come home, and sleeps in the bed with us. We are truly now a family of three. We bought a foreclosure and have invested hours upon hours making the house livable and I have noticed that even with all of the energy we have invested in the house, I feel as though I could walk away from it and move wherever the Lord takes us. But Aspen, our little kitten…I will jump through any hoop necessary to take her with us.
A few years ago I met a missionary couple who were in their late fifties. They had been married over thirty years, but they had no children. I had bought into the mindset believing that missionaries wore frumpy unflattering skirts, had long unstylish hair, and had a littler of children who were all home-schooled. They are quirky and out of touch, right? But these two broke that mold. They were cool, fun and well spoken, and above all it was very peculiar to me that they did not have children. The wife told me that when they were deciding to move abroad very early in their marriage, they decided that they wanted to be free and able to have Spiritual children, and so they made the sacrifice of not having physical children. They were completely focused on the eternal and sacrificed what most long for in order to be most effective.
Their testimony has forever changed me. Yesterday I was reflecting on life goals and looked at Jesus’ teaching on treasures. Where our treasure is, there is where our hearts will be. And the more we make ourselves comfortable here on the Earth, the more we will become tied to it and the less we will value the things of God and eternity. But even worse than that is the proclamation that we cannot love God if we love the things of the world.
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
– 1 John 2.15-17
Now, we know that children are a “blessing from the Lord” (Ps 127.3), and we know that most people who go through life will get married and have children. But we can be quick to forget that children are God’s, not ours, and we spend years of our lives catering to caring for them. When we have them, we exist to provide for them, as we have been commanded (1 Tim 5.8). But it is for this very reason that Paul says it is better to not even get married!
“But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”
– 1 Cor 7.32-34
Paul is clear that getting married is neither wrong nor a sin, but it distracts us from the things of the Lord. Having children is not wrong or a sin, but it consumes our time and energy. Our interests are divided.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
– Luke 14.26
Jesus, in saying that, does not mean that we should hate with disdain our families – our parents and children – but He is making that point that He has to be the one and only, and we must be willing to put His agenda above our own, and above our family’s. We must love Him more than our families. We can only truly love our families, after all, through Jesus.
What are you willing to sacrifice to be about His purposes on Earth? A house? Pets? Children? A spouse? You will take none of that with you, eternally. How comfortable is your Earthly home?