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How do you interpret this verse?

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10:37

Core Values

I have the opportunity on a regular basis to hear people describe their core values and what matters most to them. By far, the most common response is family.

“Family first” is a position that sounds very good. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be able to find fault with placing our family in the top spot of our priorities. However, according to Jesus own words, that would not be the right priority.

Does the Lord expect us to love and provide for our families?

Absolutely, Paul wrote these words to Timothy.

1 Timothy 5:8, “If anyone doesn’t provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Pretty strong words given to us by our Lord. Families and children have always been close to the heart of the Lord. If you have a chance, look at the words God gave Moses to tell Hebrew families before going into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

The Best Thing

Yes, family is very important. But is it the most important thing? Matthew 6:33 tells us:

“Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you

as well.”

I believe in this verse Jesus gives us the perfect solution to proper priority for our family. I believe God is telling us to seek Him first and do everything else, including family, out of the overflow of our relationship with Christ.

Looking back to Jesus words in Matthew 10:37, it is important to understand that Jesus was not dictating that we either love Him or our family. Jeff Swart shared a thought recently in our class about this verse. He said that what Jesus was actually teaching, was that our love for Him should be so consuming that, by contrast, the love for our family would seem like hatred.

As always, God’s plan for us is always perfect. That includes the priority of family. Only when we give God first place, can we really love our family as He wants us to. Here are some examples:

Loving our family by example

We must model God all everything we do in order for our faith to be real for our family. Is our faith a priority? Our family sees our priorities. A lot more is caught than taught, and our family can spot a fake.

Being a Mission-Minded Family

If we are not involved in making disciples, we are missing our true calling in Christ. We should view our wives, kids, and grandkids as our number one disciples.

Being accountable to right priorities

How is your time with God? How are we serving each other, our children, and others? Are we leading with passion? Am I putting anything before the Lord? Am I being spirit-controlled or self-controlled? These are just some of the questions. Often it is not the question itself, but the conversation that sharpens us.

Pray for right priorities

King David prayed to the Lord,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts;

And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting."


We should be regularly asking the Lord to help us see whenever we put anything before Him. Things like phones, money, kids, education, relationships, and hobbies. Ask Him. He is faithful. He’ll let us know.

Could you imagine what would happen if we became disciple-making families that put God first? We should not underestimate what God can do through and for our families when He is on the throne of our lives.

To put Family First you have to put God First.

Larry Martin

MD5 Facilitator

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