2 months ago we shifted our family system from stewardship (just another word for servant and I hadn't realised - a discussion for another day) to sonship.  We were teaching our children that nothing belonged to them and that they simply looked after things and shared - a steward.  It's sounds cool - 'all this belongs to God' - we just looking after it as if it's our own.  The earth does belong to Him and everything in it.  The good news is that the story doesn't stop there ... He came to give it to us as in an inheritance and we get to share!  We sat down together, told them we'd missed it, didn't explain all the practical implications (kids don't need that - they'll figure it out - probably before we do) talked about ownership and it's like someone injected life into the home.

So what did we believe?  A steward is one who looks after someone else's belongings as if they are their own.  We had taught our kids that this is not really your toy.  It's yours to steward.  That way we nullified the whole idea that this is mine, and I am the 'boss' of it.  No, it's not yours, it belongs to all and ultimately God.  It does sound good but in reality its socialism.  It had worked to a degree but Gina really felt the confusion that it created.  I am giving you this toy for your birthday but hey it's only yours to look after, it's not really yours.  We changed that belief system and explained it belongs to them.  We asked them which they thought was the better deal - no surprises to that answer.  It's theirs to share or not to share.  They get to choose.  Our jobs are to deal with their hearts and we do and will continue to do that.  We have gone on to explain that this is their family too - their house, their home.

A boss is a person who employs or superintends workers; manager;  a politician who controls the party, organisation as in a particular district; a person who makes decisions, exercises authority and dominates.  He is the master who orders about especially in an arrogant manner.  This type of employer is not great to work for.  Although the dictionary uses a family example, this has no place in family.  Now my kids still use the word 'boss' but it's not about being 'boss' over each other.  It's about using their authority as owners to share their belongings and display the love of a Father and the kindness of a brother.

About 1 month ago we saw this outworked.  Our helper was away for the month and with new found freedom the boys decided to help out.  They didn't serve us; they took ownership for making the beds (Ben), doing the laundry (Jared) and unpacking the dishwasher (Quinn).  They were not chores to them, they asked to help.  It was an amazing month.  They took charge, used their authority to get the jobs done.  I dread to know how long that month would have been if they were doing chores! 

I love it when it feels like a cool breeze just blew through the house.  And the best part is realising that it's not something I've done, or a new boundary put in place but simply changing what we believe.  Often I found that it has to do with this servant vs. son mentality.  I know that's Christianese and I apologise to those of you who may not be believers in Jesus.  I'd love to know how to explain this without the jargon.  My best bet is that a servant is not an owner, they get what they want through what they do, the laws they keep, their morality and basically serving you.  In order for that to exist there must be a master or 'boss' who controls, commands and instructs.  The bible tells us that God the Father is nothing like that and that Jesus came to reveal that.  He doesn't control everything - He died and rose again so you could have freedom; His commandment is to believe upon Jesus and love one another; He instructs through His Word which always reveals Jesus.  He doesn't relate to you on the basis of good or bad, right or wrong but on the basis of you being His son, through believing on Jesus.  Choosing God as 'boss' or God as Father means a choice of life or death.  The one operates on a system that will lead to death, the other a life giving relationship.

Another family example is that of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  I'll pick the story up in Luke 10:38-42.  Martha lets Jesus into the house and Martha is busy about serving Jesus.  Mary just comes and sits at the table to listen to Him.  When Martha says to Jesus to tell Mary to serve too (I am sure you've heard this before 'Why do I have to do everything, why can't she help me'), Jesus says that Mary has chosen the portion which is to her advantage (see Amplified Bible).  That word for portion means to partake or sharing.  What's the point? Martha says Mary must serve to get it, Jesus says she's already chosen the portion that will benefit her, why should she serve for it.  That's the difference between a servant and a son receiving by inheritance.

The story of this family coming back to life is found in John 11.  Lazarus dies, Jesus asks Martha if she believes (she says she does), Jesus calls for Mary, she cries at His feet saying that if He'd come earlier Lazarus would still be alive, He raises Lazarus from the dead and then Jesus has to get out from being amongst the Jews.  In John 12 He returns to Bethany and the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  Lazarus sits at the table, Mary anoints His feet with oil and poor old Martha is still stuck serving.  You've probably heard a lot about worshipping God vs. serving God if you've had any exposure to the Christianity.  I think most of what I've heard deals with what Martha and Mary were doing, serving vs worshipping, rather than what they believed.  Mary was a 'son' - she took the portion to her benefit and as a result when Jesus served her (raised her brother from the dead) she was free to respond appropriately.  I don't know if Martha should or should not have been serving in John 11 - someone had to get the food on the table.  What I do know is that Mary clearly did not have Martha's mindset and it did not stop Mary from seeing the majesty of God.  It did the exact opposite.  She was able to see the miracle Jesus had done, acknowledge He had done it at the first opportunity He returns to her home, fell at His feet in adoration and changed the fragrance of a room with extravagance.  Wow - simply because she saw God serving her, giving the portion to her benefit instead of serving for it.

I think we are seeing this bring life to our family.  The further we get away from serving God and being His servants to being His 'sons', identities and dreams are being lived.  Oh I know that John 12 goes on to talk about those that serve Him.  But read one verse back ... only after you have left 'self life' and received 'zoe life'.  You'll just have to hold those thoughts for another day... 

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