Jump Start # 3335
Matthew 1:5 “and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth; and to Obed, Jesse.”
Our verse today is found in the opening sentences of Matthew’s Gospel. It’s the genealogy of Jesus. Names upon names. In the old King James translation, there are a lot of “begats.” Genealogies are interesting. It seems the older one gets the more interested one becomes in their family history.
After my sweet dad died a couple of years ago, I got his collection of family history. Among the boxes of diaries, charts, old Bibles, was two massive notebooks of a PhD. Dissertation that someone had written about our family. There is a unique aspect to our family heritage. Every Shouse in America came through one descendent who left Germany in the early 1700’s and came to the States. We are all related. The history can be traced back to the late 1500’s. Tons of names and a lot of branches on this tree.
So, the other day I started reading the dissertation about our family. To be honest, it’s not well written, but it is what it is. I was chasing one specific name. There was a preacher in Kentucky in the late 1800’s with the same last name. I never knew for sure how he was connected. In digging, I found another preacher connected to Christian church/churches of Christ who preached in Texas. There was one who was a mayor of a small village in Germany. Then there was a Jouett Shouse, the son of one of the preachers I discovered, who served in Congress and was assistant secretary of the treasury under President Wilson. Jouett later was head of the Democratic Party in the 1920’s. His picture appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1930. And, there is Ed Shouse, who ran with the Dillinger gang. He died in prison and is buried in prison cemetery with just a number marking his grave. Preachers. Criminals. Politicians. And, a whole bunch of just everyday, common people. That’s my family. Now, there are two more preachers in that bunch, myself and one of my sons.
And, in the line of Jesus, there is Rahab, a prostitute. There is David, the king, but also who had a marred history. There is Solomon who introduced idolatry. Heroes. Bad guys. And, a whole bunch of everyday, common people.
Here’s some thoughts:
First, all families have bright spots and dark moments. There are heroes and bums in about all of our families. Dig deep enough and one finds scandals, embarrassing incidents and things that you would never do. One might dig and find that your family once owned slaves. Now, you’d never do that, but it’s in the history. One might find drunks, drug addicts, and some who were sent to prison. One might find war heroes, people that made significant impacts and improvements upon the lives of others.
Your family, your family name, might get a door opened for you. But it will be up to you to prove yourself and do the job that you are supposed to do. What some have done in the past does not mean that you would do that yourself.
Second, who we are is based upon the choices that we have made. Some have had a terrible family history. Yet, they have risen above that and became incredible disciples for the Lord. I’ve known some great men whose dads were drunks, neglectful and didn’t have an ounce of faith in them, to move beyond that and serve as great shepherds among God’s people. You do not have to walk the same path as your ancestors. You make your own choices.
Third, if the Lord allows this ole’ world to continue on, someone someday might be tracing our name through the pages of the family history. Just a name. Just a birth date. Just a death date. But it’s much more than that. Each name is a soul. Each name is someone that the Lord loved. Each name is someone who got up in the mornings, just as you do and went to work and tried to raise a family. A name in the family history, but more than that, a soul that was important to Heaven.
Each day is filled with choices, opportunities, adventures and ways to make a difference in the lives of others and to honor and glorify our Lord. And, what our lives are, just a combination of all those days, just like today.
Preachers. Politicians. Criminals. And, a whole bunch of forgotten, everyday people. None are forgotten by God.