Last week I recorded a program entitled, “Who do you think you are” which centers on people tracing their family history. The program that I saw was the one on Reba McEntire. She had a picture of her great-grandfather, great-grandmother, her grandmother when she was a little girl and several siblings – in the late 1800’s – and wanted to find out more about this man in the photo. As she researched his name and looked up on ancestry.com – she began to unfold a puzzle of her heritage. She found out things she had not thought possible, including the fact that her great-grandfather had once owned ten black slaves. Going further back to this man’s grandfather – she checked records in places they were known to have lived – and found that this great-great-great-grandfather had come over on a ship from England to the American colonies as an indentured servant – a post that he served from the age of 9 until 21. After that she found a record that he had traded a large amount of tobacco for land and this is where he lived his life.
I did a little “look-see” on ancestry.com to see how accurate it is – and if it would tell me about my own heritage. It does indeed – and although I did not join the 30 day free trial, I was able to see that if you know a name, birthdate, birthplace, or place of death – you can pinpoint a person and see a record. A very helpful tool for those wondering about their grandparents and beyond.
In Reba’s case – those events were not talked about, so she had no idea. And it does seem logical for any white man living in the south in the 1800’s to have owned slaves – and yet, it was still hard for her to read about it. But it was a normal practice in those days – even trading children and babies – as was the case with her great-grandfather.
I think it is important to find out where we are from – the hardships, sacrifices and situations our ancestors lived through – in understanding our family and most of all – in understanding ourselves better. Unless we really understand where we come from – it is difficult to understand why we do the things we do, where we are headed, and why.
Because the Bible is full of stories and events and genealogies – I have to believe that family heritage was and is important to God. And because we have those stories – and those of us that are Gentiles and are “adopted” into the family of God by His great “grafting in” – it is awesome to think about – to know that there is a purpose for my life – and trail of people who came ahead of me – a rich history that dates back to the foundations of the earth – and to God’s very special creation. He had me in mind – even way back then before my ancestors were even born!
What about you? Do you feel special? Can you trace your family tree? Even if you can’t – you can trace your genealogy as being a part of God’s great family – and be assured that you are real family to Him?
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 NLT
Have a great day – you are important!