Friday, June 27, 2008

"She looketh well to the ways of her household..." Prov.31:27

For past Family Fridays (, I've talked about all sorts of things; ways to have fun as a family, recent family activities, relationships between family members, reasons to strive for strong families, and random family-related topics that have occurred to me.

Today I'd like to let you follow my thoughts on a certain character who lives in almost every home; the firstborn.

I like to joke that I'm an expert on firstborns, because I live in a house full of them; my parents are both firstborns, my older sister is a firstborn, and my younger brother is a firstborn son. ....Then there's a gap of years, and our "second set of siblings" begins; my second brother is the firstborn of this set, the sister who comes after him is the firstborn girl of the set, and the sister after her acts like a firstborn.

The truth is, I'm partial to firstborns. I believe they have special potential for the Lord. Do you remember how He set aside all the firstborns in Israel to serve Him, back in the beginning, before the Levites became the priestly tribe? And do you see through the Bible how God says the first of everything belongs to Him?

~ The first fruits of the crops (tithe),

~ the first day of the week (Resurrection Day, the Christian Sabbath),

~ the first hours of the day (David is constantly seeking His face early in the morning),

~the first years of your life ("Remember the Creator in the days of thy youth").

In Biblical times, it was the custom for the first-born son to have the birth-right; to inherit most of his father's goods and authority. That is why it's significant that Jesus is the only begotten (and therefore first-born) Son of God, and that He is called the "first-begotten" (Heb. 1:6).

That's also why it's cool that in Revelation, the church is referred to as "the church of the Firstborn," meaning the church of Jesus.

I've always thought that it must be extra-special to be engaged in a profession that Jesus knew. carpenters who know the Lord must think it's pretty neat that they are working with wood, just like Jesus did, when He was growing up. And Christian authors know that God is a writer, too - much better than they'll ever be. And doctors know that He is the Great Physician. And Jesus even knew how to cook - don't you think those fish He fixed for His disciples must have been absolutely delicious?

So it must be pretty neat to be a first-born, just like Jesus. (Of course I realize it's not "just like" Jesus.)

It makes sense that God would give firstborns a special potential. Throughout history, many leaders have been firstborns. There's something special about them that I can't explain. They have the possibility to do great good.

If you're not a firstborn, and you're feeling a little jealous...DON'T. Firstborns also carry a great weight.

Because they have so much potential, they are special targets. Think for a minute of all the parents you know who are grieved by a way-ward child. Now count how many of those children are firstborns. Strange, isn't it?

Okay, I'd better pause right here and make some clarifications. First of all, what I've been saying about firstborns is my own opinion. I'm not against anyone who's not firstborn - that's me, after all! And I don't think that we don't have any potential to serve the Lord if we're not firstborns. That wouldn't be a Biblical opinion. I just find it interesting to observe that something special goes on in firstborns' lives.

In any case, there is one very interesting fact about firstborns; they outnumber us. You can have a family with only a firstborn, but you can't really have a family without a firstborn.

So if you aren't a firstborn, you have a relationship with one.

Hmm. What can I say? You all know what I'm talking about. They're different, aren't they?

Sometimes they're difficult. Sometimes they're loads of fun. Sometimes they are demanding. Sometimes they are a ton of help. Sometimes they make you pull your hair out. Sometimes they make you laugh.

I'm afraid that in today's world, most younger siblings do not have a good relationship with their oldest sibling. They consider him or her the bad guy. I hear it quite often; "They are SO bossy!"

Maybe. Take it easy with them. They have a lot on their shoulders. And, after all, think about where they've come from;

~ They've never been the younger one. They don't know what it's like to have a sibling telling them what to do. Maybe they've never thought about what it feels like.

~ For a time, at least, they were the only child; that influences their personality. They can't help it.

~ They are under special attack. Pray for them.

I'm not excusing meanness and bossiness. Yes, it doesn't feel nice to be on the receiving end. But we can't let what they do determine how we react. We DO have a choice in the matter.

Just for the record, I'm not writing this post to pick on the firstborns in my family. I love you guys! There are lots of nice firstborns out there. And there are some non-firstborns who have got the "bossy thing" down pat!

So, no matter who it is in the family who seems to constantly bugging you, how do you react?

Well, if you're me, you bristle up, and determine that they aren't going to get you to do anything you don't want to do.

But your conscience reminds you that you are suppose to turn the other cheek, and that you don't have any rights, and that the fruit of the Spirit is love, etc.

So you groan and try to shut off the conscience.

But, praise the Lord, He won't let His children do that forever.

So you try to pacify it; with pride written on your face, you do your best to act sweet and kind and humble. The outward actions are correct...if you don't count the three or four mean words that slipped out.

Inside, however, you are raging. "How dare they do this to me! They are sooo mean! Why am I always the one giving in? They think that can do whatever they want, because I'm always nice and I always give up to them."

Then the Spirit starts bringing things to your mind. He plays the words that you spoke over in you ears. He shows you the toss of your head, the roll of your eyes. Next, He shows you the verses about love, humbleness, kindness......

Memories nag your mind; "But they were worse than I!"

"So what?" the Spirit whispers.

...And suddenly, you are very miserable. It isn't long until you are broken by the realization that you have again dishonored your Lord. What pain! Nothing in the world compares to it.

I'm in no place to offer advice on relating to siblings. I fail too often. All I can say it that the pain isn't worth it. Why do I choose to suffer it so often, when within my reach is the power to live right?

The Lord truly provides the grace to not just do right, but be right, if I will but abide in Him. I know this. There have been times, believe it or not, when I do desperately cling to Him, and He sends me the right state of mind - and I leave the conflict victorious! Not because I won an argument, but because I submitted to His will.

He can do it for you, too. I know He can.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Am, I just had to leave a comment when I saw you typing and decided to get on after I mopped the kitchen.
I love being the first born!!! Sometimes it is hard at other times it is a lot of fun.....just think what would your life be like without me? Of course, what would I do without you? I love you!!!