I went to my aunt for a surprise visit. That's when she told me she wasn't feeling well. As I thought of what I could do for her, God reminded me that I told her years ago I would cook for her one day, and there was no better time. Of course, she always kept plenty of can soup around the house, but homemade is like a warm hug. So I rolled up my sleeves, asked my mom for help, and got to work.
With a whole chicken, carrots, onions, celery, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, turnips, garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper in boiling water and family members who started to gather made for a perfect atmosphere, and we were feasting on love hours later. It was awesome. I found a way to minister to my family without saying a word.
But something was brewing, and I could not ignore the shift in the room. And before the night was over, I knew I needed to feed them something for their souls. So I asked God what to say because I knew that even Jesus was not accepted among his own. And I am no Jesus, but I knew I wasn't there only for bowls of soup and onion bread.
It took a minute to get the room quiet. We were in a heated conversation. And my voice had disappeared like I had been preaching to millions without a microphone. But my words were emphatic, and my conviction was intense as I recognized I would be a disservice if all I did was nourish their bodies, and it was clear that they needed more. So with no idea how they would receive me, I shared that God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. He also wants us to improve our relationships because we are family. I explained that meant they had to love Him with all their hearts and love each other as they would themselves.
I drove home that night, thinking about all that was said and what wasn't, but most of all, if I fed my family well. Although we can often put a value on doing God's work inside a church or at a homeless shelter, or even traveling the world to tell the good news to people we hardly know and some we don't know, we mustn't neglect our families. And it reminded me of a valuable lesson I learned long ago: that your first ministry is at home and with the family God gave you. It is not enough to assume they will get what they need from watching you from a distance or that God would use someone else to bless them. They need to feel God's love through you. They need hope during their struggles, and you may be the one God uses. So we must not ignore that nudge to spend time with our family; we must feed them too.