Fantastic Family Rules

Last night I concluded a meeting with the church in Madrid, Iowa. The brethren were welcoming and hospitable. They were very receptive to the lessons. And lifted and encouraged us.

It was obvious that they worked hard to promote the meeting and invite their friends. We had guests visit us every service. Some as a result of their advertizing. It was a week in which I felt like I received as much or more than I gave.

However, and other Preachers can attest to this, the best of meetings can be difficult to enjoy if your living accommodations are uncomfortable, cramped, or just plain unpleasant because of the conflicts within the family you’re staying with. Well, this was none of the above. Our week was made very comfortable and enjoyable by staying with one of the elders, Scott Chumbley, his lovely wife Amy, and their two sons, Jeffery and Edward.

They made us feel so at home. But it was more than just a comfortable bed, a private bath, and room to work. It was the atmosphere of their home. The obvious love their family shares. The kindness and courtesy they express to each other. And the mutual respect within their family. Their teenage boys were very polite and well mannered toward us, their parents and each other. It was a joy to be invited into their home.

I found the obvious spiritual atmosphere of their home expressed in these 71 words on a plaque in their basement family room. Take time to read them. Slowly. Carefully. And thoughtfully.

These simple words express profound advice for building and growing positive relationships in our families. They also reflect Scriptural concepts that when applied in our homes will make them happier and healthier. They are wonderful applications of the famous “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (ESV)

This plaque applies the Golden Rule. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matt 7:12).

As I reflected further, I realized these “Family Rules” are reminding us to live in our homes what Paul commanded to the Philippian Christians in order to enjoy harmony and unity. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4)

They speak to Peter’s directives to “live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Pet. 3:8-9).

It’s a good reminder as we interact with each other in the family unit to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32).

Finally, these “Family Rules” remind us of the truth of Solomon’s counsel, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”

Thanks, Madrid Church Family for the opportunity to share the Word this week and for the many expressions of your brotherly kindness. And thanks Chumbley family for your generosity, hospitality and the loving warmth of your home. We will never forget it.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


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