Several months ago, a friend and I were talking about our homes. I have a whole list of improvements I want to undertake, from painting the kitchen cupboards to putting barn wood paneling in the bathroom upstairs to finding some new pillows for the couch. However, as I started talking to her, I realized her home improvement focus was on a completely different track. She asked if I had any ideas for making her home more Christ-centered. I was immediately drawn into the idea. My family believes in Jesus Christ, but had I devoted enough time and energy to making my home Christ-centered? One night as I was pondering on how I might make that happen, the answer finally came. What better way to learn about having a Christ-centered home than from Christ Himself?
I dove into the four Gospels, looking for the lessons Jesus taught in the homes He visited and trying to decide how to apply them to my own family’s home. Here are just four that I discovered:
1.THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERS OF TYRE (Mark 7)
This chapter begins with a heated debate over whether or not the disciples washed their hands before eating bread and is followed by a chapter recounting the miracle of feeding the 4,000 with seven baskets full of bread remaining. Right in the middle of those two stories, we read about a Gentile woman who came to Jesus as He ate. This woman fell at His feet and begged for help for her daughter. Jesus explained that it was not right to take the bread of the children and feed it to the dogs. Her response was immediate, “Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.” In other words, she was saying I want to experience the bread, Your bread, so deeply that I will take whatever You will give me, even the crumbs.
Because of her great faith, Jesus gave her more than a crumb; He gave her a miracle. That is the way of the Lord. One of the lessons I love most about this woman is that she approached the Lord expecting a miracle. That is not my nature. I don’t know whether it is a lack of faith or an unnecessary attempt to settle for something less, but rarely do I enter a situation with as much faith and expectation as this woman did. She taught me a great lesson on desire, on faith, and on the miracles that follow humble belief in Him. It is a lesson I want my family to learn—that as followers of Jesus Christ, we can anticipate that our faith in Him will lead to miracles. This knowledge can have a powerful effect on the way we worship, pray, and commune with the Lord within the walls of our home.
THE LESSON: A Christ-centered home teaches faith and expects miracles to come from that faith.
2.THE HOUSE THAT WAS FULL (Luke 5)
I am in love with the story of the house that was full to bursting with people. Even the doorway and porch were completely full of people who had come to listen to Jesus Christ. Having heard that the Savior was teaching there, some friends brought their sick friend who, went up on the roof, broke up the tiling and lowered him down at the feet of Jesus. It must have required a lot of effort: one to lift, one to support, one to hold on, and another to add strength. My favorite part of the story is when we are told that the man was healed because of their faith—the faith of the friends. Sometimes when I read this chapter I ask myself, to what lengths would I go to bring a friend to Christ?
One afternoon, I read the chapter that described Joseph and Emma’s home in the Doctrine and Covenants. I love the verse that says, “And it shall be for a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein; therefore let it be a good house… that the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord (D&C 124:23).” I decided wanted to create a home like that—a home where people could come to our doorstep and find a welcome, a place to feel safe, and a home where people would come to talk about Jesus. That year our home unexpectedly expanded to provide refuge for a homeless boy, a single mother and daughter who needed a place to stay for a few weeks, and a whole slew of teenagers and young adults who came in and out at all hours of the day and night. We cried together. We laughed together. We gathered around the table and ate together. But most importantly, we talked about Jesus Christ together. That year holds some of my most favorite and life changing memories.
THE LESSON: A Christ-centered home creates space for love and is a temporal and spiritual refuge.
3.THE HOUSE OF PETER (Mark 1)
It was a Sabbath day when Jesus entered the home of Peter. He had spent the day teaching, healing, and attending the Synagogue. When they walked into Peter’s home, they found his mother sick with a fever, so Jesus healed her. While they ate dinner, the news of the healing spread, and by the time dinner was over, all the city had gathered at the door. I love what we learn from this account about how Jesus spent the Sabbath––teaching, healing the sick, visiting with close friends and family, and attending church. Take a few minutes to consider how this Sabbath might compare to one of yours.
In Old Testament times, the Sabbath was regarded as a high holy day. The scriptures tell us the Sabbath is meant to be made holy, kept, set apart, celebrated, and valued as a gift. As you consider how your family can honor the Lord’s day, it might help to ponder how your family celebrates Christmas––a day set apart for celebrating Jesus. Usually, that holiday includes gathering together, good food, traditions, and stories about the Christ child. What if you were to set apart the Sabbath as a holy celebration similar to Christmas? Could it become a day you looked forward to? A day when your entire focus was to celebrate Him?
THE LESSON: A Christ-centered home and family honor the day that is the Lord’s.
4.THE HOUSE IN CAPERNAUM (Matthew 17)
Remember the tax collector who came to the house in Capernaum and asked Peter for money to pay the temple tax? It was money that Peter didn’t have, but the Lord was ready to provide. Jesus sent Peter fishing. Jesus knew there was a fish in the lake with a coin in its mouth that was the right amount to pay the taxes. As is usually the case, the miracle was found in something plain and ordinary. It amazes me that Peter threw the line into the right place in the lake, the right fish was the first to take the bait, and the right coin was in its belly. It was all of these ordinary details carefully orchestrated together that brought to pass the miracle. What is the most fascinating to me is that stories like this don’t just happen in the Bible; they take place on a regular basis, all of the time. Somehow we need to learn to open our eyes and recognize them there.
Often we think of these moments as coincidences, and sometimes perhaps they are. But there are moments when God’s hand is clearly at work in our lives. You have experienced moments like these. We all have. They are found in the sunset just after your mother’s funeral, the words of a song that comes on the radio as you drive away from a discouraging doctor’s visit, the unexpected text from a friend who felt prompted to reach out. These are the times when the ordinary details of life are orchestrated in such a way that you are reminded heaven has not forgotten you. It is important to learn to look for God’s simple gifts in our life so we might learn to recognize His ordinary, amazing grace.
THE LESSON: A Christ-centered home sees miracles in everyday moments.
The New Testament Saints based their life around having a Christ-centered home. In fact, scripture reminds us that, “In every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42).” Perhaps the same could be true of each of us today. Allowing Jesus to become our focus will have a great impact on our homes and our families. We will be blessed to experience an added measure of peace, strength, courage, and hope, but there is more. When Christ becomes the center of our home, our way of living will define us as true Christians––families who live our way of life because of who we are.
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