I am single. I have chosen to remain single. I am not going to get married. I'm not going to have children of my own.
I am a family man.
I was reminded of this last week. Just before I and the other deacons and elders from my church went away on a retreat, my Dad called me. He told me he'd been thinking of me a lot, and had been struck by the words “family man.” He didn't know what this meant, and didn't “want to sound pentecostal or anything,” but just wondered if that meant anything to me. I told him I was heading off on this retreat, and that I would pray about it.
The retreat consisted mostly of the five of us hanging out, talking together, laughing and praying. We stayed up too late, and I got very little sleep. We sat by the fire and told our stories. The second night, Ken shared a lot about his journey over the last several months since his wife Mary died. As I listened, I was struck by just how much I really loved this man, and how much there is that I admire about him. Kindness and patience, generosity and gentleness, humility and peace. I realized that this is someone I really want to be like.
I also reflected upon the other people I was with, and the group of people that we are all connected with. I have been given a family. The life that I lead is not for me alone. It is for this strange and beautiful family that grace has given me. I don't know if I could love my own relatives any more than I love this group of people.
Each one of these family members is changing me. Discipleship is not a matter of following a program or even of merely “praying and reading the Bible.” It's a matter of sitting with the people I love, and realizing how much there is to admire in each of them. They inspire and draw out the best of who I am, and who God intended me to be.
God himself is a family, with each person of the trinity drawing out the goodness of the other, eternally giving to one another in a holy movement of love and grace. This is what God invites us into. He invites us into a Family.
My life is not my own. It belongs to my Family. I am a Family man.