When a couple gets married there is the initial honeymoon period that is all bliss and adjustment. While they aren’t exactly sealed off from the rest of the world, their existence is pretty much wrapped up in each other for those initial months. However, while the foundation of a relationship that is laid during that period should endure, the day-to-day life eventually takes on a somewhat different tone. For Christian couples this tone should be defined with a distinct kingdom focus, one that keeps the entire world in view, not just our marital relationship. As we see in Genesis, the first marriage came with a commission from God to not only live and love each other, but to interact with and maintain the world.
I don’t mean to be a killjoy to that honeymoon bliss. The honeymoon period is a wonderful time that should be savored and enjoyed. However, while that intimacy and joy should be maintained, our calling is not just inward focused, but outward as well. A honeymoon is not the entire story. Can you imagine a novel that is an endless replay of the introduction? A greater, more complex life story needs to be written, one that moves beyond the first chapter. That means thinking about our calling to live our married life with a clear view of the dominion mandate. This means more than being fruitful and multiplying, though that is a part of it. It also means being salt and light in the larger world in all areas of living, not just in procreation.
Depending on your own family’s arena of life, this can mean reaching out to elderly or unsaved neighbors in your apartment complex or home. There is no shortage of lost and searching neighbors that can be loved, served, and engaged, with a humble faithful lifestyle. This can be simple hospitality, a meal or cookout with another family, or even organizing a block party.
Another means of family ministry could be aiding a harried mother with small children or helping a neighbor with a home repair problem. The guiding theme here is not as much hospitality as it is mercy and helps. It is sadly becoming rarer and rarer to have neighbors that are willing to invest time in this way with the people around them.
The objective in either of these types of ministry isn’t field preparation for the Inevitable Gospel Presentation Ambush. It is a desire to establish the home as a beacon of gospel light in the neighborhood. We want to let the home be a sort of model of Eden that attracts people. This model genuinely displays love, peace, and joy, in such a winsome and clearly Christian way that it becomes a gospel magnet. Then, as God gives opportunities, we are able to give clear gospel reasons for the fruit of the spirit that is humbly exhibited.
Let me be clear about one thing, this is not a mere hobby or project. It goes much deeper than that. It is a calling, the calling that God has given every Christian family. It needs to be central to your thinking, a core principle of your married lives together. It should inform every decision, and guide you as you decide on your priorities. You are establishing a gospel outpost in your own particular world of influence, and your marriage and home is the initial avenue that God has provided to fulfill that role in a place where Christ dwells.
This article was originally published in Every Thought Captive magazine. Subscribe HERE.