Documenting genealogy is nothing new. If you’ve read the Bible then you know it’s filled with it. This person begot that person who begot that one, and so on. I confess, I actually like reading through those. As I read more and more of the Bible more and more names pop out at me in these lists, and I have an idea of who they are. Some names mean nothing to me because they don’t really have a prominent role. Regardless of who is in it though, they all had their part to play. If they were in the genealogy line in the Bible, then they had a hand in creating some of the most prominent people.
From our readings we have an idea of who Abraham came from, and who Moses came from. And we know the line of Jesus. They kept some great records back then (I’m kind of jealous). Some of the people in those lines may have been pretty important at one time or another. But what about all the others? Some of those lines are pretty lengthy. There are people in there who will never have a book written about them, and I’m pretty sure we’ll never remember their names, but each and every one of them helped create the most amazing people who did amazing things.
And even though we ourselves may never become famous, and we’ll probably never have a book written about us, we are important. We’re important in the lives of our children and our grandchildren, and so on down the line. And if we never have children, then maybe we’ll be important in the lives of our nieces and nephews, or the little boy or girl we help out. In some way we will all impact someone’s life, and we need to decide just how we want to do that. I remember my paternal grandmother. She died when I was ten, and she didn’t live nearby, so I never really got to know her. When she did visit she didn’t leave a good impression. I can honestly say I never really liked her. I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have talked to her more and found out more about her life. But at that time all I could think about was that one thing she said to me, and how she overstayed her welcome.
We do have those people in our lives, in our line, who we don’t have the best experiences with. They may have hurt us, or just made us angry. They may not have chosen the right way to impact our lives. But we have the choice. With my own kids my husband and I have made the choice to be better parents to them and make sure that they know they’re loved, and that we love each other. We’re trying to give them a healthy environment in which to live. “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Col 3:21)
And we try to make sure that they know Christ. We will answer any of their questions as well as we can (and we’ll tell them if we’re not really sure about something). We bring them to church, and we do devotions with them every night. We say grace at the dinner table, and we pray together every night when devotions are done. We want to give them a firm foundation in who He is, but we don’t shove it down their throats. There’s a happy balance. My hope is that through the tender teaching we try to give them they will make the decision to accept Him fully, and that when they have kids they will teach them in the same way or even better. Moses told the Israelites, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Dt 11:18,19), and Paul wrote to the Thessalonians comparing how he, Silas and Timothy treated the church in Thessalonica in the same way a father should treat his child. “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” (1Th 2:11,12)
We’re trying to start the ripples by throwing a little pebble in the pond, ripples that will make a good impact on the lives of our family yet to come. Years down the road, when we’re dead and gone, I would love to have my children’s children telling their families positive stories about us, and telling them how much we all loved Christ, and how one day we’ll all be able to meet up in heaven.
I pray now that each and every one of us chooses the right way to impact a child’s life. I pray that through Christ Jesus we are able to walk and spread His joy, His hope, His peace, and His love to the generations yet to come. May we all gain souls for Christ even when we are no longer on this earth. Amen.