“Family is the most important thing in the world,” said a respected elder recently. He was not just blowing smoke. He orders his life according to that maxim. He often is the first person to respond to a family member’s need.  He does all he can to help with family crises which come with regularity in a large extended family.

This interaction caused me to wonder how much family should be valued. I agree that family is important, but his statement caused me to wonder how much emphasis should be placed on family relationships.

This question continued as Nancy and I transitioned to our daughter’s wedding where we are spending this week. Jennifer and Peter will wed this Sunday. This is a joyous occasion and we are delighted to participate in various ways.

Clearly family is important. Family forms a large part of our identity. From ancient times, family members have been people’s most important human relationships.

However, is family the most important thing in the world?

Even though the Bible has a high view of family, in Luke 9 Jesus states that it is not the most important thing in the world..

59 He (Jesus) said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

And later in Luke’s Gospel this incident is recorded…

14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

So, after thinking it over, I agree that family is important, but not the most important thing in the world.