Where Do You Come From?

by Keith Bortner
One of my hobbies involves countless hours of reading about dead people. Death certificates, obituaries, census records, newspaper articles/clippings, old letters from family members. I find them all fascinating. Genealogical research might not be something that everyone is interested in but I love the challenges of finding old documents that map out family connections.
Nearly all of my family came to this area of Pennsylvania from Germany in the early to mid 1700s and most were farmers. It’s incredibly interesting to me to see where my family has come from, seeing who has come before, where they lived, what they jobs they did. Who had aging parents or grandparents living with them? If someone had made different choices about where to work or go to church or which farm to purchase many years ago, it’s possible that I wouldn’t be here today!
It’s also interesting to see what our spiritual heritage is. Who led you to Christ? Did you come from a family where a relationship with Christ was important? Were parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles involved in shaping your faith? How many Sunday School teachers, pastors, and other church leaders influenced you and who you’ve become today? So many people have come before us in the church, and if someone many years ago had not decided to walk with Christ, would you be where you are, spiritually, today?
2 Timothy 1:3-5 reminds us of this. I hope that my children, grandchildren, and maybe great-grandchildren will someday be able to look back on my life and see a life of sincere faith and love. I hope that generations beyond them, even though they won’t have known me, will be glad for a spiritual heritage that we are a part of building today. We have the opportunity today to make a difference in future generations, both in our families and the families around us.
Let’s cling to the faith that we have that began 2000 years ago with our Lord and a cross and an empty tomb and continue to keep it alive in our relationships today.
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2 Timothy 1:3-5)

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