Cherishing Our Tribe
Through mid-January to February, the high schoolers of Summit Students have been learning about how the Lord expects us to serve and cherish our families by showing forgiveness, honor, and love. We also got to draw our own connections of how these expectations are outlined in the Ten Commandments and how they are specifically organized in order of importance according to God.
“Why should I obey my parents if they are so messed up?” and “You don’t even know what I deal with at home,” are the responses that were confronted in this 4-week sermon series.
Appropriately titled “Family Feud,” this series was one of my personal favorites in my five years of Summit Student Ministries. The topics each week, ranging from exhibiting patience with siblings to respecting our parents, were so appropriately timed with what happened in my house that I knew the message could have only come from God.
On a Sunday when I was particularly grumpy—I blame the miserable weather—we learned about honoring our parents no matter what. The previous week, let’s just say my two little bothers (brothers) and I were not particularly fond of each other...and that Sunday night we discussed exhibiting patience towards our siblings. Alongside seven bright girls and two incredibly wise leaders, I learned (or at least took a stab at) what it takes to thrive in a family, and how to follow God’s commandments regarding honoring mine.
It’s easy in this fast-paced world to forget or simply cast aside the Ten Commandments that God gave us as believers to follow every day. The big ones are obvious: “Thou shalt not steal...commit adultery...murder” and even the commandments regarding the Sabbath and keeping it holy. But what is often overlooked is the order of those commandments. In order, they read (paraphrased), “You shall have no other gods before God, do not worship any false idols, do not take the Lord’s name in vain, remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, honor your father and mother, do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, and do not envy others.”
Most of us follow commandments selectively. Yes, you read me right, “selectively.” I’m not saying that we commit murder only to go to 11 a.m. service the next Sunday, just that we might choose to overlook certain commandments to follow the ones we like. I personally am a firm believer in keeping the Sabbath by having one day of complete rest and reflection a week. And from a very early age, I have a vivid memory of shutting out the idea of worshipping an idol other than the Lord; instead, I try to follow a role model who shares the same faith I have in him. While I keep these two commandments incredibly close to my heart, I still have trouble keeping the ones that often get glossed over in sermons.
Remember when I mentioned the startling order of the commandments? Like many laws and action plans, such as the Bill of Rights, the order in which rules are organized often reflects the author’s intention of importance. This reflection is no different in the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses by the Lord himself. This sermon series subtly, yet substantially, suggested this order of commandments when we were learning about honoring our family. Notice how God commanded us to honor our father and mother before he told us not to kill each other. According to our Heavenly Father, honoring our parents is more important than not committing murder, which, I believe, sounds like a serious command to follow. One could also infer that this commandment precedes the Great Commandment found in Matthew 22, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We used this commandment to learn how to exhibit kindness and patience towards our siblings and how to properly settle the inevitable squabbles and disputes in the home.
I believe this sermon series was due and it came in good timing. Teenagers and young adults are losing touch with their parents and it is imperative to maintain healthy relationships that are oh-so-very necessary to guide us along this crazy journey called life.
It’s safe to say that loving those who God put in our family is key to our happiness and spiritual success on this earth and through him alone, we can thrive in familial peace. I guess it’s OK to let our parents believe they know what’s best.
Julia Dennis is one of the amazing students here at Summit and has been attending for 10 years. She’s a self proclaimed coffee-dependent sophomore and she loves all things music—especially performing it!
Summit Students helps connect middle and high schoolers with other students, develop their relationship with Christ, and discover where they fit in the work of God and the world around them. Find more information here!