Is there any Biblical precedent for putting “family first?” I would submit that this is a myth and a hindrance to true Biblical stewardship. In my knowledge of scripture I can’t think of an example of any biblical commands that would say that we are to put our families needs above the needs of others. Yet, I see plenty of biblical mandates to put others needs on par with our own: “Love you neighbor as yourself.” “whatever you do for the least of these, you’ve done unto me.” “if you have two coats, share one.”
I’m aware there are stories in the Bible of families lovingly sacrificing for one another, but there are also plenty of examples and commands of caring for those we are not related to, indeed even our enemies. The reason I think dispelling this myth (if indeed it is) is so important to the topic of stewardship is that I think it is commonly used as a justification for a life of stewardship that is directed primarily at our immediate family.
If we believe in “family first” as a command then we feel justified in spending time, energy and money making sure our kids go to the best schools, live in the “safest” neighborhoods, and have a significant college fund saved up. But what about the other kids? What of our neighbors, whom we are supposed to love as ourselves?
I am not suggesting we neglect the needs of our children to serve others, but rather seeing our neighbor (locally and globally) and their needs with the same heartfelt conviction and commitment that we do our families needs.