Monday, January 3, 2011

A Heritage of Faith

Studying today about Timothy and his heritage.  Very interesting guy.

  • Reminded that he was born of a Christian Jew and an unbelieving Greek.
  • Reminded that Scripture quotes the names and influence of his mother and maternal grandmother as having a sincere faith.  No names of any paternal or unbelieving influence are mentioned.
  • Reminded that Timothy was so young when he began his ministry, but possessed a maturity that impressed the APOSTLE PAUL.
  • Reminded that God tells us in Deuteronomy 7 that love and faith can affect 1000 generations even though many today would say the sins of the father are visited on the son.
Trying to reconcile all of this with my own heritage of faith.  I have been blessed.  If I write down the generations of family members that have had a faith in Christ, it is so evident that my heritage was one of faith.  It could have been so different.  Even one branch to the right or left and I could have grown up in a much different home and family.  Afforded much different opportunities.  Given much less of a chance to be what I am today.  Still able to receive the grace of God, but at much less of an advantaged head start!

I have a friend that studies his family heritage a lot.  I find myself intrigued to read about the things he uncovers.  Not really sure why, because history has always been boring to me.  But now looking at pieces of my past may influence the way in which I live out my faith in the future.

Throw on top of this my pastor's recent challenge to us to wrestle with what we are to do with our extra tunic.  With the fact that only those with the advantage can redistribute what they have been given with those who have not.  I will save for another day what this demands of me in regards to poverty, hunger, and oppression in this world.  For today I am wondering what it means for me in regards to my salvation, my faith, my unique opportunity to share this thing I have been given with others.

I find myself thankful and humbled that I have been given the heritage of faith that I have.  What I once in life considered a disadvantage and annoyance, I now see as a gift of grace.  Not a burden or guilt that I received this advantage and others did not, because what value is there in that type of thinking?  God gave it and it isn't my place to question His sovereignty even if I do wonder about it.  

Out of this thankfulness I do feel a great obligation to share with others so that they too may begin a faith of 1000 generations. But even with the clear and undeniable voice of God asking me to do just that I remain silent.  I recently was in a situation where I felt immense empathy and burden for a complete stranger that was sharing his circumstance within my hearing.  I wanted so badly to say something, to tell him I was praying for him, to ask if he needed anything, to just say I am sorry.  More than just wanting to, I audibly heard a voice inside my head saying Shelley, talk to him.  Share with him.  Show him there is hope.  

But my human nature, the part of me I despise, won out and I sat there keeping to myself and ignoring the opportunity.  I have been disturbed by this ever since, and it was 3 weeks ago.  I think about it often and I am ashamed that I did nothing.  Yes, there is much to excuse why I did what I did.  But these excuses are all nothing in comparison with the truth that I ignored the voice of God and put my comfort first.  If I could find that man I would unashamedly share with him.  Even if it made me cry.  Even if I made no sense.  Even if he looked at me like I was crazy.  I would change that.  I would reach out in an attempt to have a relationship with him, to be Christ.

Lord, please keep giving me the opportunities and next time, through your grace, the courage to obey.

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