LECTURE ON FAMILY VALUES:
Today, we bring you the opening part of a lecture delivered by our CEO, Femi Adelegan, at an anniversary of the MEN’S FELLOWSHIP OF THE CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH, KUBWA, ABUJA. THE THEME IS: GOD’S WILL FOR THE FAMILY (Amos 3: 3) TITLE: FAMILY & FINANCE MANAGEMENT
I give glory to God Almighty for this privilege to share with my brothers and sisters in Christ, on the occasion of the this year’s anniversary lecture of this church. I salute the leadership of this assembly for putting this event together. I pray that may God use this lecture to show His glory to all of us so that we all will never remain the same again. I have been requested to speak on an interesting issue: ‘Family & Finance Management’. This topic is very apt at this critical period in the history of our nation, when practically everybody is concerned with the state of our economy.
GOD’S WILL: Permit me, my brothers and sisters, to observe that the theme of this lecture is very fascinating because it deals with occurrences in the lives of all of us. For this reason, I should like to start by examining the very important question: What is the will of God? This will dove-tail into what the will of God for the family is; and from there, I will attempt to conclude with the substantive issue: ‘Family & Finance Management’.
I assume that we all know that God Sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. Some say God is a Benevolent Dictator. I agree because He does whatever He likes. In other words, there is nothing that happens without the knowledge of God. This aspect of God’s will is seen in verses like Ephesians 1:11, where we learn that God is the one “who works all things according to the counsel of His will.’’ He remains the Unquestionable God. Essentially, nothing happens that is beyond His control. God can always decide to either permit or stop the actions and events of this world. Father Abraham is a perfect example of someone that did the will of God and got rewarded for his obedience to divine directives. When Satan wanted to afflict Job, he sought and obtained the permission of God to remove the hedge around Job. When Jesus Christ was preparing to go meet His Father, He prayed that God’s will may prevail. But the will of God at that particular time was that Jesus Christ must die on the cross at Calvary, to redeem humanity and carry away our sins for us to live, as had been ordained by God. It was easy for God to listen and do the wishes of His beloved son. However, GOD never did because there was a purpose or will for Jesus Christ to die for us.
Similarly, Judas was fulfilling God’s Sovereign will by betraying Christ, just as the Romans who crucified Him were. That does not, however, justify their sins. They were no less evil or treacherous, and they were held accountable for their rejection of Christ (Acts 4:27-28). God’s plan and purpose for each and every believer is for our good, and for His glory (see Romans 8:28). How do we know the will of God? Very simple: Study critically the written Word of God, Whose directive is for us to live our lives by every word that proceeds from His mouth. Our responsibility is to obey the revealed will of God and not to speculate on what might be His will for us.
WHAT PLEASES GOD?: God defines what is pleasing to Him. Wherever God is not allowed to rule, He overrules. For example, while it is clear that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, it is also clear that He wills or decrees their death, as in the divine instruction that we shall not suffer a witch to live. Living according to His revealed will should be the purpose of our lives. The Lord gives us long ropes for repentance and salvation.
CONSEQUENCES: And what are the consequences of not doing the will of God? (i) Whoever fails to do the will of God is disobedient and sins against the Creator (ii) Whoever fails to do the will of God cannot enjoy the grace of God; and is bound to meet with disgrace in life (iii) Whoever does not do the will of God cannot make Heaven, and will,therefore, suffer eternally.
THE FAMILY UNIT: Having defined what the will of God means, let me now go forward to highlight the responsibilities of a family. The family is a microscopic unit of any society. The origin of the family is traceable to the Garden of Eden, where the Lord put Adam and Eve together. The couple was to govern the Garden of Eden. Therefore, proper governance of the family is an issue that God expects us to take seriously, because spouses will be held accountable for the children God brings into this world through them. Why did Adam fail and fall? I would say the first man failed because of his inability to provide quality leadership and resist sin. Why was Eve able to convince Adam to disobey God? I would say it occurred because Adam was such a weak governor and head of the family who could not resist evil. What I have attempted to prove is that leadership and governance are two crucial determinants of the attainment of our visions in life as family units; and more importantly, affect destinies of the human race.
DEMANDS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH: When a man and woman come together to be one, they must have a common vision and mission. How do we want to live our lives? How many children do we pray to God to give us? How many houses? How do we manage our resources? There must be measurable objectives and goals to minimize crises and for the achievement of desires. There is no way disagreements will not arise occasionally, because no human being is infallible. Therefore, there must be damage control measures in relationships. Again, God wants us to be slow in anger. Spouses must understand each other’s weaknesses, and learn to be highly tolerant of one another and how to control their emotions. We have ‘’leaders and governors’’ at various levels in the society.
It starts with the family, a small unit of the polity that is headed or governed by a person we may call ‘’daddy of the house,’’ who is assisted by the ‘’mother of the house,’’ another personality that could be classified as deputy-governor in the hierarchy of a family. This command structure is in operation in all societies, and contributes phenomenally to the sustenance of order and harmonious co-existence. Has anybody bothered to imagine how a home, society, places of work, and even nations would look like without rulers, regulators of systems, or those who exercise authority? Without any doubt, the resultant chaos is better imagined than felt.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DECISION MAKERS: The story of the creation of the first couple quotes God as stating that: ”This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man“(Gen. 2:23) For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and become one flesh. ’ Also, Mark 10:7 says: ‘’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Wives are called to submit to their own husbands, as to the Lord. As the church submits to Christ, so wives should to their husbands in everything (Ephesians 5:21-24). Husbands, in turn, are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. They are to provide for their wives both physically and spiritually and to cherish them as God’s special provision for them (Ephesians 5:25-30).
As Christian husbands and wives live out these marital roles, God’s original creation design for marriage will be fulfilled once again: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31, citing Genesis 2:24). Let us never forget that when a man and woman appear before the Lord to be joined in holy matrimony, they have come to agree before God and people who are witnesses that they will remain one in their journeys through life; agreeing to suffer together, weep together, rejoice together, and above all, follow the Lord Jesus Christ together. The Lord, while making man the head of the family doesn’t permit the man to be brutish by manhandling his spouse. The Creator too does not permit of the woman to be disrespectful to the husband. There can always be a meeting point and concessions by both parties in the event of disagreements that must happen, because we are not infallible.
MANAGING THE HOME BY EXAMPLE: Managing a home, a simple microscopic unit of the society could sometimes be difficult, due to some varying factors. Those who govern or lead at various levels; from the family unit are expected to lead by example, and prayerfully. You must manage what you have properly, especially your resources. Where ‘’leaders and governors’’ of a home fail, the family and other strata of the society bear the negative consequences. For instance, while the parents must provide for the needs of their young offspring and nurture them to adulthood, children must obey their parents as commanded by the Lord. Therefore, managing the family or organized societies, must be approached for the purpose of development. Without any doubt, challenges will arise periodically. Nobody is immune to challenges. Even the church, which should be a model for the society is not spared the problems of management, which quite naturally tasks the ingenuity of leaders. In the Christian faith, it is believed that God decides to make even church leaders experience what is referred to as ‘’rough edges’’ (some challenges) so we all would acknowledge His majesty. God has programmed the world such that if there are no battles to fight, we might equate ourselves with the Creator.
WHAT IS A FAMILY: The Bible defines family as ‘’the union of one man and one woman in matrimony which is normally blessed with one or several natural or adopted children.’’ In a broad sense, family may also include any other persons related by blood (the extended family). Scripture teaches that family was God’s idea and that marriage is a divine, and not a mere human institution. Therefore, spouses are by implication of this truth not free to renegotiate or redefine marriage and the family in any way they choose, the must respect the will of God that has been divinely instituted. Jesus Christ stated emphatically that: “What therefore God has joined together let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). When a union is consummated, the expectations of the husband and wife who have become one flesh is the procreate, according to the Scripture. We expect children who are bundles of joy to arrive pretty soon, usually within one year. Immediately answers to prayers on procreation are granted, we consider the family to be complete. Parents are mere caretakers. Children belong to God and will eventually account to God for their conducts. It is the mandate of parents to produce Godly and righteous children. Remember Prophet Eli in the Holy Bible. Effective parenting must be properly planned. It is wrong for parents to leave their responsibilities to another person, or even organizations like churches and institutions of learning without monitoring the development of the child.
THE STATE OF THE HOME & FAMILY TODAY: The whole world is indeed in perilous times. All indications point to the fact that we are witnessing signs of the end time and occurrences call for greater attention to our spiritual lives. Take a critical look at all that is happening in the world, with regard to sinful conducts. What do we see?
- Moral decay
- Sinful conducts
- Indiscipline on the part of youths and adults
- Lack of proper attention to the upbringing of our growing ones.
- I have identified these constraints to enable you appreciate fully, the enormous task confronting our society. Those of us who are parents, and organizations exercising parental responsibilities need to wake up to reality, as those charged with the responsibility of jointly evolving solutions of problems confronting humanity have not taken their responsibilities responsibly. The task, undoubtedly calls for greater responsiveness on the part of all that have parental responsibilities. And the church and places of worship are part of the institutions that are responsible for shaping the minds of the citizenry, and breeding responsible leadership that would walk in accordance with the counsel of God.
PRAY FOR YOUR PASTORS & LEADERS: I should like to specifically address the issue of interceding for our leaders, in particular, people who stand in the gap for us, our nation, as well as our church leaders. We are quick at blaming them for mistakes they commit. They must make mistakes because they are NOT God. But how many of us obey the Biblical injunction for us to pray for people in positions of authority? How many of us here are Aarons and Hurs who lifted the hands of Moses at critical periods? Let us never forget that these leaders are human beings are open to the manipulations of Satan from time to time. Even our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil. The Authority – the Holy Bible in Proverbs 21 states emphatically that we could through intercessions control our leaders. 21 The Lord controls the mind of a king as easily as he directs the course of a stream. 2 You may think that everything you do is right, but remember that the Lord judges your motives.3 Do what is right and fair; that pleases the Lord more than bringing him sacrifices. 4 Wicked people are controlled by their conceit and arrogance, and this is sinful. 5 Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough. 6 The riches you get by dishonesty soon disappear, but not before they lead you into the jaws of death. 7 The wicked are doomed by their own violence; they refuse to do what is right.
Therefore, pray for husbands that is the leader of a family unit and all those responsible for decisions that affect you so that God may direct their paths. Family units too must raise altars in their homes. May God Almighty give all spouses the grace, strength, and courage, to perform their roles satisfactorily, so that they could ultimately make heaven. It shall be well with all of us in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
May the good Lord bless Nigeria.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW
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