This will be my last blog here at Kehila News Israel as there have been some developments in my professional life that are nudging me in a different direction. I am discussing the possibility of contributing content to a different ministry-related website here in the Land and I hope my regular readers won’t have too much trouble finding me at this other website when I get going there.
But I wanted to take the opportunity to thank KNI for hosting my blog here for the last six years and I also want to thank all my readers and those who gave me feedback, all of which was helpful, even though it wasn’t always meant to be helpful and/or friendly.
A mentor I had many years ago told me that when something is coming to an end, it’s always good to look back at how it got started.
My first blog here at KNI was entitled “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match” and it was an attempt to get a conversation started among the Body of Messiah in Israel (and elsewhere) about the efforts (or lack of effort) being undertaken to help young single people in our congregations get married and start families. That was, by a wide margin, the most widely read blog I ever wrote and it certainly did start many discussions. I heard (and still hear) from pastors all over Israel who told me that they had been asked to read it and take some kind of action to make things easier for young singles to meet and get married. Many young singles also wrote to me and let me know that they deeply appreciated it and had been waiting for someone to speak up on the issue for a long time.
As gratifying as that was, what was much better was that over the past six years since that blog first got posted, I have been told by several people that it helped them get married. Often it was parents, a friend or some other person in their lives who read it and it inspired them to do something to help a younger person get married. In a few cases, single men read it and realized they should get serious and propose to their girlfriends.
In any event, that blog certainly shook a few things up, in a good way, and I’m very happy about that. Over the subsequent years, I wrote a lot of other blogs on a wide variety of topics, including family life. This topic seemed to be the most popular and the results, that I was able to observe, were usually very positive. I think in the future I will focus on this topic, wherever I end up blogging next. It certainly is a vitally important topic that is in desperate need of attention, inside as well as outside the Church.
The nuclear family is the basic foundational building block of any church and for that matter any civilizational unit, from a neighborhood to a global empire. If this foundational building block is healthy, almost everything else will be okay. If it’s not, nothing else will be okay.
So if you’ve been reading my blogs since the beginning or if you’re reading this one and it’s the first one of mine you’ve ever read, I want to give you a few thoughts to ponder on this vitally important topic of healthy family life.
First, it’s a cliche to say that “the family which prays together, stays together.” But it’s also the truth. Prayer serves as a glue that holds families together, especially if it is a regular prayer that occurs at set times such as before meals (families should also eat together as often as possible) or at bedtime. If you have small children, a regular bedtime routine should include communal prayer and it should also include parents reading to their children. The best kind of bedtime reading material is a children’s Bible, and as they grow up, you can get more serious versions until they get old enough to read for themselves.
When they can read for themselves, it is never a bad idea to have family devotion time which includes the reading of Scripture, communal prayer and discussion. It is also VITALLY important for you to attend a weekly congregational meeting together and if possible to also participate in Bible study, prayer groups, and other communal activities at your congregation.
The life of a Believer needs to be lived in a community with other Believers. Regular fellowship, along with Bible study and prayer, are the pillars of the Christian life. All of these activities require the company of other Believers, so there are no “lone rangers” in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, nor are there any “secret agents” operating alone behind enemy lines.
In short, no one can do this alone.
As it says in Genesis 2:18, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
This brings me full circle back to where I started, and as I close out this blog, I would like to renew the call I made in that first blog I wrote six years ago for the pastors, elders, and parents of the Body of Messiah in Israel (and everywhere else this blog is being read) to provide opportunities for the young people in your congregations and families to meet and get married. The “dating scene” is more confusing than ever, and young people need help and guidance, whether they want to admit it or not.
To young people contemplating marriage, I can only tell you from my own experience that when the time and the person is right, you’ll know it. If you move forward in faith, there will be difficulties and disappointments, but you will know you’re walking in God’s will for your life and the things you’ll be able to do for Him, for the Kingdom, for the Body of Christ and for everything else God has put under your care, will be greatly enhanced. A Godly marriage between two Believers is always much more than the sum of its parts. It is a force multiplier for all these things.
With that in mind, to young men who want to get married or you’re not sure you want to get married, especially if you’ve been dating someone for more than a year and you’re “not ready to make a commitment” or whatever, I have one simple piece of advice.
Yes, cover your decisions in prayer and seek the counsel of trusted elders in your family and your congregation. But also be aware of the need that exists for you to, at some point, step up and make something happen.
Stop being passive. Stop waiting for the right woman to fall out of the sky and land on you.
Instead, ask someone you like to go somewhere with you where you can get to know each other better. If she says no, try again. If she says no a second time, ask someone else and keep asking until someone says yes to going on a first date with you.
If the first date with the young lady goes well, or even if it doesn’t go that badly, ask her to go on another one. If that one goes well, ask her to go on another, and then go meet her family (you’ll be spending a lot of time with them) and take her to meet yours. If all that goes well, keep going. Attend her mother’s birthday party. Invite her to events with your family. Keep going on this path until you can answer the question “do I want to spend the rest of my life with this person or not” and if the answer is yes, go buy an engagement ring and make sure you offer it to her before her next birthday or before the end of the current calendar year, whichever comes first.
Stop making excuses why “now’s not the right time” to get married, etc.
There is no perfect time to get married when everything is going to line up perfectly to remove all inconveniences. Don’t rush into something that you’re not sure about and/or not ready for, but don’t take too long to make a decision either. In my humble opinion, a year of dating is plenty of time to learn everything you need to know about someone to make a decision about whether or not to marry them. In some cases, that might even be too long.
For young women, the only advice I’d presume to offer you is to not put up with it if your boyfriend is dragging his feet. If you’ve been dating for a year, more or less, and you’re ready to be his wife, tell him to give you a ring and a definite date when he’ll be meeting you at the alter, because you’re not going to wait forever. If that doesn’t prompt him to propose to you, then tell him you’re not going to date him anymore unless he gives you a reason to believe that you’ll be married soon. Give him a few weeks to get the point and if he still doesn’t propose, thank God that you’re out of a relationship that was never going to go anywhere.
There are many more points I’d like to bring up and explore but, as I said, there’ll be other days and other blogs, just not on this website.
For now, that’s what I’ve got for you this week. I hope it blessed someone.