It is the tendency of many who come to know the Lord to immediately involve themselves in ministry. This is their way of showing their love and appreciation for what the Lord has done to them. They are eager to share their newfound faith with everyone—except with their own family. However, Jesus wants the members of our family to be the first people to hear our testimonies. He said to a man who was delivered from demon-possession, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). By these words, we could see that Jesus cares about our families. He wants that salvation will come not only to us, but also to every member of our families.
While Jesus wants that we share our faith with our families first, many find it difficult to do so. They tend to shy away from those who are closest to them, wrongly justifying their action using Jesus’ words: “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour” (Mark 6:4). Indeed, it is not easy to reach out to our loved ones, since they know us very well. They need more than words to convince them that we are “born again.” The best proof of a born again life is a changed life. This is the reason why Jesus commanded the demon-possessed man to tell his family how much the Lord has done for him. Unless they see what the Lord had done to transform us, they will not believe.
Throughout Scriptures, we could see that God is in the business of saving families. When God decided to restart life here on earth because every inclination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil all the time, he sent a devastating flood (Gen. 6). Only Noah and his family—eight in all—were saved. A similar thing happened to the family of Lot. When God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, he sent his angels to take Lot and family out of the city. They said, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out ¬of here.” (Gen. 19:12) While God’s intent was to save the whole family, only Lot and his two daughters were saved. The two men who were pledged to be married to his daughters perished because they did not believe him and thought that he was only joking. Also, his wife looked back, contrary to what they were commanded and became a pillar of salt. We need to believe to be saved.
In the New Testament time, God continued to show that he indeed cared about the salvation of families. When Paul and Silas were imprisoned, God used the miracle of opening prison doors and loosing chains to open the eyes of the jailer. In response to the miracle he saw, he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). While it appears that he only wished that he personally be saved, the response of Paul was inclusive. Paul responded, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31). God’s plan was not just for him to be saved, but his whole household. As the jailer and his household listened to the gospel, they all were saved. Just as God was concerned with the salvation of families not only in the Old Testament time, but also in the New, he is still concerned with the salvation of our families today.
The first mission outreach of a new believer should be his family. The best message that he could share with the members of his family should not be verses lifted from the Bible, but a story of what Jesus had done for him and how the Lord had shown mercy on him. Personal testimony is the best approach in reaching out to members of our families. However, words alone are not enough because they know us too well. Rather, our words should be coupled with actions. If they only hear the word but not see the action, they will not be convinced that Jesus had indeed done something that they too would want to have or experience.
As we grow in our faith, we will come to realize that we do not only have our own small family, but we are part of the bigger family of God. But who are they that belong to the family of God? When Jesus was told that his mother and brothers are outside looking for him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:34-35). As believers, we are related with one another because of our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are indeed brothers and sisters in Christ and we belong to a big family. Nevertheless, let us not be content knowing that we are saved. Let us heed the Lord’s command to go home to our family and tell them how much the Lord has done for us, and how he has had mercy on us, so that they too will be saved. Hallelujah!