Sometimes a song or hymn can have special meaning in your life. One of the hymns sung at our wedding offered some wonderful principles for marriage and family that I pondered often.
The hymn is “Oh Blest the House.” by Christoph C. L. von Pfeil, 1712-1784
“Oh blest the house, what’re befall, where Jesus Christ is all in all.
Yea, if He were not dwelling there, how dark, and poor, and void it were!”
Are things falling apart at your place? Is every day an effort? Is your home dark, and poor, and void? All that changes when Jesus becomes the center. Where Jesus dwells, nothing is dark and poor. French philosopher and physicist Blaise Pascal said that within the heart of every man is a God-shaped void that cannot be filled by created things. Material things could never fill our house with warmth and joy. Those blessings are found only in homes where “Jesus Christ is all in all”.
“Oh, blest that house where faith ye find and all within have set their mind
To trust their God and serve Him still and do in all His holy will!”
This was our desire right from the beginning of our marriage. Both our parents had set faithful examples for us. Also, I remember a plaque we received as a wedding gift that read “Christ is the head this house; the unseen guest at every meal; the silent listener to every conversation.” We wanted that to be the theme of our home. Of course we often failed to place God first, but we would ask forgiveness and begin again. The goal remained. If you did not have parents who provided good examples for Christian living, look to Christian books and Christian mentors and then YOU become the couple that models this for others.
“Oh blest the parents who give heed unto their children’s foremost need,
And weary not of care or cost! May none to them and heaven be lost!”
We all love our children. We would do about anything for them. So, do we give heed to their “foremost need”? Is knowing Jesus the top priority in our homes? Sunday morning was our family’s time to worship. At our house that meant no sports events scheduled on Sunday mornings; no camping trips that excluded Sunday worship; no travel to other cities or towns without locating a church to attend. Family devotions were a central part of what we were about each day. Again, there were periods when we failed to do this. Still, each time we asked for forgiveness and began again. Do these practices seem burdensome? Not if they provide a way to your children’s salvation; not if it meets their “foremost need”.
“Blest such a house it prospers well, in peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lot is shone how richly God can bless His own.”
I occasionally watch the TV shows where a distressed family calls in a professional nanny to help them change some extremely poor dynamics between parents and children. I don’t identify. I had faithful parents, and have come to realize that many of my life’s blessings have come as a result of their faithfulness. The hymn says that “in their children’s lot is shown how richly God can bless His own.” One of those blessings was experiencing a sense of peace and joy in our home.
That has been true of my life, and I want that blessing to spill over into the lives of my children and their children, and even the children yet to be born. And that can only happen if my children tell their children and their children tell theirs. I know how thin the thread can become if it is not woven tightly into a family’s life. Have you ever considered that how we raise our children might affect the outcome of our great-grandchildren’s salvation?
“Then here will I and mine today a solemn covenant make and say:
Though all the world forsake Thy Word, I and my house will serve the Lord!”
When Christ is all and all in our homes, faith flourishes and forgiveness flows. When we place our family’s care into the hands of God, we no longer fear the task of living in an evil world. Our Heavenly Father lovingly helps us navigate such a world, and even find peace and joy on the journey.
Decide today that Jesus will be “all in all” in your home. He will do the rest.
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 15b