I moved away from home when I was eighteen years old. I first attended Bible college and then volunteered for a year working for a mission agency. Immediately following my year of service, I was married. We located in the midwest and I never moved back to my childhood home to live for longer than a few weeks.
There is a sense in which I felt a bit orphaned at times. I still enjoyed loving parents who were attentive to my needs and often came to assist me along the way. But I didn’t have the day-to-day interaction with them like I observed in many families around me. At times, I deeply longed to be able to go to Mom and Dad’s after church for Sunday dinner or to play games or hang out at Grandma and Grandpa’s with my kids. Alas, my choices took me away. While there were many gracious people along the way who loved and cared for us, we weren’t part of the family. We were always extras.
I think that’s what draws me in to Paul’s description of our adoption as God’s children in Galatians 4.
4But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.Galatians 4:4-7
There is a movie from the 90’s entitled “It Takes Two.” It is the story of two girls, one very rich and the other very poor. The poor girl is in an orphanage waiting to be adopted when she meets her doppelganger in the rich girl. The story is their misadventure of swapping places. At one point a family, the Butkisses, adopt children to work in their junk yard. The family has natural born children and they live, eat and work separately from the adopted children. The children from the orphanage are brought in to be slaves to the family.
It isn’t so in the family of God. When the time was just right, God sent Jesus to buy our freedom, to choose us from the orphanage of slavery. Then he adopted us as his very own children, with full rights just like a natural born child. He gave us a place at the table, our own room with a comfy bed and then he did something really incredible! He put us in the will. That’s right! We became heirs just like a natural born child.
There were many people along the way who loved Dave and I, even inviting us to family times. But NO ONE changed their will for us. No one included us as heirs with their natural born children.
Think on that amazing fact today! You aren’t redeemed to work as a slave. You haven’t been brought into the family to do the dirty work that no one else wants to do. You are adopted as a full born child! Your inheritance is guaranteed. You have a place at the table. Your name is in the Christmas drawing.
That’s a lot for one day, isn’t it?! Do a little happy dance while you remind yourself that you’re loved, redeemed and a part of the Family!