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Tim Tebow and a dry tree (2)

An interesting scroll for 56:3-5 says:

Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say,
       "The LORD will surely exclude me from his people."
       And let not any eunuch complain,
       "I am only a dry tree."

For this is what the LORD says:
       "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
       who choose what pleases me
       and hold fast to my covenant-

to them I will give within my temple and its walls
       a memorial and a name
       better than sons and daughters;
       I will give them an everlasting name
       that will not be cut off.

The eunuch was a dry tree --- without wife, without children, doomed to dry up and leave nothing behind. But this text brought hope. Covenant keepers (regardless of their physical condition), would be given a name better than sons and daughter (v. 5), that would last forever.

The actual text he was reading when Phillip comes up spoke of One who like a root out of dry ground with no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him (v. 2). As a lamb before the shearer . . . well, it’s all too much for him. He had to know from Phillip was the writer speaking of himself or someone else?

And beginning with that text Phillip shared the good news of Jesus. That included baptism because when they come upon some water, he wanted to know --- was there any reason he couldn’t be baptized? This has echoes of Deuteronomy 23:1ff. He wanted to know if there is anything that would disqualify him from entrance into the family of God. Was it really true that through Jesus this dry tree could be part of a family? Gloriously, it was true. He’s baptized and goes on his way rejoicing because for the first time in his life (but not the last time), he belonged. Fully. Completely. Totally. There was a place for him among the people of hope.

So as we speak of about healthy marriages, being godly parents, and the like (because we should and must address these things), we must do so within the context of this larger family, our ultimate forever family. We must be careful not to allow marriage and family issues to be isolated as though they began and ended on their own, they are components of the spiritual family. Our spouse is not just our husband or wife, but our brother or sister. Our children do not belong to us (ultimately), they belong to God. It is our task to raise them as part of Jesus’ family. And it is the task of all of us to proclaim that family.

I knew of a church that called itself The Family Church. Mom, dad & the kids were a part of their church logo and in every aspect of their advertizing. I remember wondering what message this conveyed to the widowed, divorced, single or childless. I wondered what message it conveyed to the community and its own members about people in those groups. It’s possible to be over-focused on the wrong family.

All of which brings us back to Mr. Tebow. Most people who know anything about him at all know that he and his family go to the Philippines every year to participate in mission work. He has gone to prisons in order to reach out to inmates there. He has chosen to remain a virgin until marriage. Now, rather than clash swords, he and his mother have made a commercial that celebrates the love they have for each other. What’s the point?

People know how Tim Tebow walks long before they ever hear about where he stands. I think there’s something there for us. Perhaps there was a time when people cared about where we stood before they knew how we walked, but that’s not true today. Before we get over-focused on the mom, dad & kids family, we need to make sure we’ve given abundant opportunity for everyone to understand about God’s family. They need to see our commitment to it being a place for everyone. When they have seen this will they be interested in hearing what God has to say about their families.
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