I don’t like mushrooms, while my wife loves mushrooms. To me all mushrooms are bad and avoid my mouth. But did you know that many mushrooms are poisonous? A couple of types can even cause certain death. The death sounded awful and excruciating too! So not all mushrooms are the same. If you were to pick your own mushrooms you would have to be careful in distinguishing between the safe and killer ones. They can look similar, but have subtle differences.
Safe and killer mushrooms remind me of our homes. We have many parts of our families that are necessary and good when kept in balance. These “mushrooms” of our home must be constantly discerned in order to be safe, or they will kill our homes! God says the “mature” have their “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14). Here are six areas in our home we must work to keep in balance.
Mushroom #1 – Ambition (Suitable vs. Selfish) – Americans are known for their drive and ambition. We want to be successful and achieve our goals. Suitable ambition is certainly necessary and applauded by God. We need to see the value in hard work, family financial support, and appropriate drive. Yet, selfish ambition has killed many families. Selfish ambition is about attaining more and more. It is when ambition stoops to levels of corruption and dishonesty. It is when a father or mother puts their own career success above what is best for the family.
Mushroom # 2 – Pride (Decent vs. Deadly) – Pride is the root cause of all sins. Pride can kill a home because it pits family members in competition against one another. Pride leads to dissension and divorce. It separates parents from kids and causes years of discord. But we need a decent amount of pride. Pride in a decent and godly manner is good. We should take pride in our work, ourselves, and our family. Pride must be balanced!
Mushroom # 3 – Money (Using vs. Loving) – There is a modern epidemic of affluence! Affluence causes parents to focus on their image rather than their character. Affluence is about the accumulation of stuff. Money is a difficult mushroom to detect; whether we are using it safely or is it killing us! We are to use money and be good stewards of money (Mat. 6:24; 25:14-30), but we must not love money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:8-10).
Mushroom # 4 – Recreation (Appropriate vs. Radical) – Maybe the greatest challenge families face today is balancing recreation demands of our culture. Recreation time is important for families to develop and strengthen relationships. But families that are radical in their recreational pursuits filling up their schedules with sporting, leisure, and extra-curriculor activities suffer. When families are rarely home, dinner tables sit empty, and parents are split carrying kids different ways, the family suffers. Surprisingly enough recreation, something that is so good for families, can kill the family.
Mushroom # 5 – Entertainment (Edifying vs. Cesspool) – We must always consider what we put into our hearts and minds (Col. 3:1-5). The battlefield in our homes is the mind. We must remember that garbage in equals garbage out. Families must control their entertainment choices or it will destroy their family. (Consider your mind-food diet.)
Mushroom # 6 – Kids (Prioritized vs. Spoiled) – The attitude of parents towards children has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. In the past kids were loved, but not adored. They were seen by parents as necessities for providing labor and came with expectations for their education and labor. Today, most have kids, not out of necessity, but out of a desire for a relationship with them. Kids should be prioritized. Quality time must be spent with them and their training should be intentional. But they should not be spoiled. The family should not run upside down! Kids are not the head of the home. Not every decision should be made based upon what is best for the kids.
Which mushroom do you think is most difficult to navigate today?
I must give credit for much of these ideas and thoughts to Steve Farrar and his book Family Survival.
You can listen to a sermon on this same subject in the Audio Resources.
Some additional verses corresponding to the # of the mushroom.
1 – 1 Tim. 5:8, 1 Thess. 4:11, Luke 12:15
2 – Col. 3:23-24; 1 John 2:16; Prov. 13:10; 16:18
3 – Mat. 6:24; Mat. 25; 1 Tim. 6:8-10; Mat. 19:21-22
4 – Deut. 6:7-9; 24:5
5 – Col. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:9; 2 Cor. 10:5; Ps. 101:3
6 – Eph. 6:4; Prov. 13:24; 22:15