The Value of Family Visitation

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It could be said that value is in the eye of the beholder. Value is described as the importance or worth that we place upon something. We measure worth by the qualities we perceive. While viewpoints and perceptions vary greatly in the world today, most people place family and friends high on the list of what they value.

Man is a social being. Following the creation of Adam, God acknowledged that it was not good for the man to be alone. none of the animals could fill this social void. So he created woman, a human with whom Adam could enter into a relationship. God’s design is for people to interact with other people to find their social needs fulfilled.

People engage in many different activities in an effort to meet their social needs. Some of these activities are good, some are merely okay, and others are absolutely wrong. As Christians we must be careful to only involve ourselves in social activities with which God can be pleased. Because of the influential nature of human interaction, we must exercise caution in choosing our friendships. While we need to be kind and caring toward all, our closest associations need to be with those whom we can trust to help us on our journey to heaven. Family visitation within a brotherhood provides a safe, wholesome environment for our social needs to be met.

We enjoy times of fellowship as we gather with other believers for public worship. Do these gatherings provide enough fellowship to meet our social needs? Does meeting once, twice, or maybe three times a week at church negate the need to visit in each others’ homes? Consider the following quote from a sermon: “Church functions do not fulfill all social needs of church life.” The minister went on to say, “neither do social functions fulfill the need for spiritual church life.” Family visitation is an important social function of the brotherhood.

Jesus’ ministry here on earth was primarily a public ministry. Often the masses were thronging around Him. However, there were several experiences recorded where He took time out to visit in a private setting. Consider the impact of such encounters. When meeting Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree along the road, Jesus told him that He would come along home with him.

Once at home, Zacchaeus confessed his dishonest dealings and promised reconciliation to those he had mistreated. Jesus affirmed that this day salvation had come to this house. Consider the visit to the house in Bethany, where Mary heard the words of Jesus as she sat and listened, and Martha received some needful admonition. And then there was the visit from Nicodemus, an encounter that took place at nighttime, quite possibly interrupting Jesus’ time of rest. Jesus took time to answer his questions, and Nicodemus went away with much to think about. In each of these situations, Jesus used the social activity of visiting to build and strengthen His relationships with others. Likewise relationships in the brotherhood can be enhanced through family visitation. Merely seeing each other does little to build a relationship. Zacchaeus’ desire was to see Jesus. This desire would have been fulfilled as Jesus walked underneath the tree Zacchaeus was perched in. As Jesus took the time to build a relationship, Zacchaeus saw him not only with his physical eyes, but also with spiritual eyesight.
A major ingredient of visitation is communication. We learn to know each other better as we sit and talk together. Discussions will encompass a wide range of topics. They may vary from earth life to spiritual life, from the practical to the theoretical, from the mundane to the extraordinary, from the attainable to the idealistic, from the comprehendible to the elusive, and from the past to the future. Such discussions encourage us to think and to express our thoughts verbally. Bits of wisdom and nuggets of truth will be shared that you might never hear in a Sunday school class or an open discussion meeting. Some people are more content to listen, while others will find more pleasure in speaking. We need to remember that communication involves both listening and speaking and seek to find a balance in this.

Times of visiting will be times of encouragement. As we discuss the issues of life, we realize that our struggles are similar; our joys and sorrows are not unlike those of others. The Christian life is a battle, but we are not in it alone. We will find that companionship with others who are fighting the good fight will increase our desire and ability to be faithful.

Family visitation will help to build a close-knit community in the brotherhood. It increases our sense of belonging one to another. We will be bound together with ties of love that will be difficult to break. This drawing power will make it hard to separate ourselves from the body. We may be many members, but are only one body. Visiting will foster fellowship and camaraderie. It will promote a unified brotherhood.

In the letter that James wrote to the early church, he tells us that pure religion involves visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction. Religion that glorifies God includes visiting those who find themselves in less than desirable circumstances. It may be some elderly or handicapped individuals. Maybe it is someone experiencing illness or some other physical difficulty. YOUR family can bring light and life into an evening that might otherwise be sad and lonely. And many times you will leave wondering who received the greater blessing.

Sometimes our family visitation will include activities other than sitting in the living room. Relationship building is aided by doing things together. It could be a game of croquet or an activity such as a nature hike. Maybe it is visiting around a campfire as we roast hot dogs, make s’mores, and enjoy the pleasantness of the evening. Activities like this are a good way for the adults and children to interact. Such interaction is invaluable.

Our children will benefit from family visitation. It will aid in passing on our values to the next generation. It provides them an opportunity to socialize and grow in social graces. Sometimes they will play with their peers, and other times they will listen to the older folks visit. There is value in both. Many fond memories are formed as children experience grand times together.

In Paul’s letter to the Christians at Thessalonica, he commends them in their actions of brotherly love. At the same time he implores them to a greater display of love among the brethren. “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more” (1Th 4:9-10). An increased love for our brethren will result in visiting more and more. And more visiting will increase our love.
Interaction among our homes is a necessary ingredient to building a strong brotherhood. As families gather and fellowship together, relationships are strengthened, community is built, and the scriptural mandate to love one another is put into action. These values and many more are ours to realize if we are willing to involve ourselves in family visitation.

So who will you visit tonight?

~Myerstown, PA
June 2014