Tag Archives: mentoring

Spiritual Genealogies

1 Chronicles 1-7

Be honest. When you read these chapters, do you carefully read every name, even those you struggle to pronounce? Or do you skim over the “begats” when your eyes start to glaze over? Why on earth would God think it important to include this long… LONG… list of names of people that have nothing to do with life in the 21st Century? Why was genealogy such a big thing back in the day?

I don’t know. But I know God wants to say something to me as I consider these chapters in His Word. The question is what.

Most of us can probably name a handful of people we have prayed with as they gave their lives to Jesus. We might refer to them as our spiritual children because we have played a part in their “born again” experiences. Just like the biological children of the Israelites, we read about today, we have (or should have) spiritual children, too.

But here’s what occurred to me today as I read about the biological children of Israel: having a child isn’t simply giving birth. Each of the parents in these chapters cared for, nourished, protected, taught, disciplined their children until – and maybe after – those children grew up and had children of their own.

You don’t just birth a baby, then walk away and hope he makes it on his own. The same can be said of our spiritual children.

I hear God asking us today how we are doing as spiritual parents to those whom we’ve led to the Savior. Are we satisfied simply to pray the prayer with them, then walk away and hope they make it on their own, hope they find a good church, hope they open their Bibles and understand what they read, hope they grow into strong, faithful believers without any help from us, their spiritual parents?

Some people believe that if we get someone to pray the prayer, that’s the most important thing. After all, once saved always saved, right? I led them in prayer so therefore I have a spiritual child! Put that name down in my spiritual genealogy.

Is getting someone to pray the prayer all there is, or is the care we give to that new-born Christian even more important? We don’t expect a biological baby to fend for himself. Why should we expect a baby believer to fend for himself?

If someone were to do an ancestry.com search for my spiritual children, what would they find? A few first generation Christians? Some weak and dying believers I’ve left to their own devices? Or would they find a list of believers who were raised by me to love God, to know Him according to His Word, to obey and trust God alone so that they are then able to birth some spiritual children of their own?

I’m afraid my spiritual ancestry might die with me for lack of proper care of my spiritual offspring. I’m reminded Jesus told us to go and make disciples, not go and make believers. Making a disciple requires nourishing, protecting, teaching, disciplining the new believer until they are able to do the same for their own offspring.

Praying with a stranger on a park bench is one thing. But it’s not the only thing. You don’t expect a newborn baby to figure out where to get his next meal. We shouldn’t expect a newborn believer to figure that out, either.

Reading these genealogies today has convicted me. God thought it was important to name all the generations. It started with a dad who had sons who had sons who had sons who had sons. I believe He’s asking me how far my own spiritual genealogy reaches, and if I have done my part in making the next spiritual generations strong and obedient.

Let’s be good spiritual parents and give our spiritual children what they need to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus. Let’s be good spiritual grandparents and stand alongside the spiritual children of our spiritual children and help them grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus.

God told his children to be fruitful and multiply, and they did! Read these chapters in 1 Chronicles and try to number the Israelites listed there. God is telling us to be fruitful and multiply, too.

One more thought: 1 Chronicles 4:24-27 tells us about Shimei who is reported to have had sixteen sons and six daughters. “But his brothers did not have many children, nor did all their clan multiply like the men of Judah.” I don’t want that said of me.

“Yeah, Connie was a Christian. But she had no offspring to carry on the Name.”

Like I said, reading these chapters in 1 Chronicles has convicted me today.

The Good Old, Bad Old Days (Job 29-31)

In Job’s final speech to his friends, he talked about the past, the days he enjoyed a prosperous life, when he was able to help the poor with his material wealth. He remembered the strangers who found shelter in his home, and the respect he received from everyone who knew him.

“How I long for the months gone by,” he said in 29:2, “for the days when God watched over me.” In verse 4 he said, “Oh for the days when I was in my prime…” (Well, actually I have said the same a time or two myself!)

Job looked at the past with longing. And many of us do that, too. We remember the good old days, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing…

  1. unless we allow our memories to paralyze us. The truth is, life was easier for me before my back problems. Life was more exciting when I had more energy and the future was promising. But today the days of my past outnumber the days of my future. The days of the past were innocent and full of new things to learn. Today my look at the world can be jaded. So, do I sit in my recliner and remember the good old days while ignoring my present and future? Do I find more comfort remembering the past than I do embracing the present and looking ahead to my future? ┬áIsn’t it a waste of precious time to live in the past?
  2. unless our memories are not true. Our minds have a way of inflating the good while diminishing the reality of the ugliness that existed, too. The opposite can be true as well, and can be so destructive if all we remember is the bad. No past is all good, or all bad.

My dad loved being a dad. We five girls were his everything. That is, until we became teenagers, and then adults with minds of our own. That was hard for Dad. And I think he always longed to go back to the days when his little girls were still his little girls. I’m not saying we weren’t able to enjoy a good relationship with him once we got through those awkward teenage years. But I think he was always a bit disappointed we grew up. And I think that colored the relationships we had with him as adults.

Living in the past, whether real or imagined, is an act of futility. Life will never be the same as it was when we were kids. We can’t go back. Time marches on. And if I am honest, my past has been fun and blessed and amazing; but it has also been painful and lonely and hard. Would I really want to relive all of it?

Warren Wiersbe says this:

“The good old days are are often a combination of a bad memory and a good imagination.” (With The Word, Thomas Nelson Press; 1991; page 298)

Yep. That pretty much describes it, doesn’t it? But Wiresbe also said something that hit me this morning on page 297 of With The Word:

“The past must be more than a memory; it must be a ministry.”

I am thankful for the gift of memory, even though not all my memories make me happy. So, what am I doing with that gift of memory? Am I sitting on it in the privacy of my own home, wishing, longing, regretting, or obsessing? Or am I using my past experiences to help someone today, January 11, 2020? Am I remembering my blessings so to encourage others, my mistakes to challenge or to warn someone who needs a reality check?

The past is the past, there is no going back. But our past can also be a tool to be used on behalf of others, for their sakes and God’s glory. Let’s remember the good old, bad old days, and allow it to minister to someone who needs our wisdom and experience to help them along the way.