Building A Thriving Family
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Jeremiah 30:18-19, Psalm 128
Sunday 24th May 2015
We have been examining the Family Convention series ‘Thrive’, over the past couple of weeks. Here are some words, the word ‘thrive’ could be replaced with: To ‘grow vigorously’, ‘become prosperous’, ‘increase in bulk’, ‘grow luxuriantly’, ‘flourish’, ‘boom’, ‘expand’, ‘become greater or larger’, ‘fly high’ and ‘make significant progress’. God’s promise to rebuild homes will result in the rebuilding of towns on its old foundations, mansions will be splendid again, thanksgivings will pour out of the windows, laughter will spill through the doors, things will get better and better, depression days will be over, families would thrive and flourish and the days of contempt will be over.
From the message last week ‘Building a thriving marriage’, we concluded that it is vital that we set our priorities right. A vibrant relationship with God is key to nurturing a thriving relationship with a spouse. In other words, a thriving vertical relationship is a prerequisite to building a prospering horizontal relationship. Furthermore, we examined in detail the importance of finding fulfilment and satisfaction in God in relation to our identity and acceptance, in order to enjoy a thriving marriage. In conclusion, we looked at the four phases of a thriving marriage – leaving, cleaving, oneness and openness.
Today as we continue this series, I want to share a message with you titled ‘Building a Thriving Family’. First of all, in opening this message, we must discuss why it is important to build a thriving family. Genesis 1:26-28 provides us with an insight to this quest, which reads: ‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them’. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” From this scripture, we can infer that after being created in the likeness of God, humankind was blessed and given the mandate to multiply. To put it another way, humanity had God’s approval to reveal His majesty and glory to all creation, through procreation. The mandate to be ‘fruitful’ was accomplished through the union of man and woman in marriage, by sexual intercourse. Sex is holy when it is kept within the confines and covenant of marriage. Outside of marriage, sex becomes a perversion of God’s creation. As God’s children, we must be deliberate in honouring and revering this command as stipulated by God.
A thriving family is one built in the image of God, exemplifying His nature, character and values. A thriving family models Christ to the world and to all generations – the essence of civilization and the hope for the future. The family was designed to provide a cure for all the social, psychological, emotional and spiritual ills in society. It is the answer to the world’s problems.
A thriving family inadvertently produces a thriving nation; hence the success of a nation can be traced to the success of her families. Conversely, every problem within a nation can be traced to the delinquency within her families. Crimes, anti-social behaviour and all acts of lawlessness can be traced back to the breakdown of families. Many young people are locked within the confines of prisons because of an angry and rebellious attitude toward their parents, especially towards an absent father.
With a shadow of doubt, a thriving family is key to a stable, healthy and productive nation. More so, a thriving family is the avenue by which God intends to reveal His image to the world. It is for this reason that the enemy is on a rampage to destroy homes. Sadly, many couples are unaware of the devil’s scheme and find it easy to throw in the towel once an issue develops in their marriage. Without any consideration for the next generation and the impact of their decision, they give in too easily to a minor problem that could be resolved.
To have a full portrait of a thriving family, here is Psalm 128. ‘Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you out of Zion, And may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!’. In understanding the portrait of a thriving family, this scripture has outlined three members of the family that we would study in detail: A God-fearing man’s influence on his wife aids her in blossoming like a fruitful vine in the house, his influence on his children facilitates their growth like olive plants around the table. This in turn will spill to impact his community, the nation and the world positively.
The father in a family sets the tone for the family, and he is viewed as the representative head of the family by God. Fathers are called to provide leadership and the church’s greatest challenge is winning men back to this position. If the family must thrive it must begin with the father, for as goes fatherhood so goes the family. Sadly, there is a dearth of fatherhood in our world today and there is a generation growing up without fathers. This wandering generation is confused and has no idea what fatherhood is all about. They have no antecedence of what to look up to as they approach adulthood. If we can begin to develop and encourage the fathers, we will be inadvertently raising a thriving family.
Again, in drawing a full portrait of a thriving family, the father takes the lead – He honours the Lord and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, faith and so much more. Secondly, the mother is described as ‘a fruitful vine in the heart of the house’. In fully understanding this similitude, we need to enumerate the characteristics of a vine. The vine is known to cling to whatever it is attached to. Every wife deserves an atmosphere in the home created by their husbands that facilitates their cleaving and learning. Such an atmosphere is produced by the workings and the characteristics of the Spirit in their husbands. Besides clinging, the vine begins to climb upwards. As a result of a wife’s blossoming relationship with her husband, it stimulates growth and development in every facet of her life. Her strength, ability and skill are enhanced and enriched. Her inner qualities are nurtured and the qualities of a thriving woman are obvious to all. The vine clings and climbs – it was never intended to be trampled on. A vine clings, climbs and lastly clusters, producing grapes for the nourishment of the home. These grapes can be processed to release wine – which signifies abundance, joy and laughter in the home.
Lastly, let’s complete the picture of a thriving family by understanding how the olive plant relates to the children. The scripture reveals that the olive plants are nurtured around the table in the home. Every child deserves a place at home where they are tutored and nurtured – and not anywhere else. Parents have the responsibility to instill within their children godly virtues.
Proverb 22:6 reads: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it’. When an olive plant is nurtured well, it develops into an olive tree. A well nurtured olive tree produces olive for at least 40 years. By inference, a well nurtured child has the capability to impact the community and the nation positively throughout adolescence and adulthood. Sadly, there is a generation of kids growing up without the full input of their parents, which we must do all within our capacity to reverse.
Each parent has been innately gifted to pass along a spiritual deposit to their children. Can I encourage each parent, especially fathers to train up the children? Spend time with them and communicate with them. Make it easy for your children to talk to you, particularly when they have or are about to make a wrong decision. Also make time to pray with them and speak God’s blessings into their lives.
King David prepared in advance for Solomon’s life, by providing all that he needed to live a life of abundance. The building materials in building the magnificent temple was provided ready for Solomon. David also gave his word and blessings for the construction of the temple to Solomon. He also encouraged the elders around Solomon to support the project – creating the right platform for a life of ease, a mindset of a finished product and catalyst for the completion of the temple. As parents, it is vital that you prepare for your children – they should not start life from where you started. As parents, you need to invest time, money and spiritual discipline into your children.
As we round up, here is Psalm 128:5-6: ‘The Lord bless you out of Zion, And may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!’ Zion in in this context refers to the temple or the church, as God’s house is referred to today. Every God-fearing father must lead his family to church. This is the place from which abundance and blessings begin. Jerusalem, which by inference is the community, begins to prosper as a result of the blessings in this thriving family. Soon, a prospering region and a safe haven for every member of the town where violence and crime is non-existent ensue, resulting in a nation known for peace.
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