I have traced our family tree back 10 or 11 generations in this country, including the first generation of Scotch-Irish immigrants who fought in the American Revolution. And the Kilgour Clan (original spelling) can be traced many generations back in Scotland before being transported to Ireland by King James I.
But for me one of the interesting things to trace is my spiritual family tree. While it is true that including me, 6 of the last 10 generations of Kilgores that I trace in my family line were ordained ministers and I am thankful for the fact that my grandfather and father have had a spiritual influence in my life–they helped me develop my love for the Word of God–I know that I cannot rest on my heritage. It is not enough to look back at the generations that came before me. I have always been challenged to own my own relationship with the Lord, not as a family right or family history but as a personal passion. I know how easy it is for a rich heritage to be lost.
If each generation does not own their own relationship with the Lord, personally, the influence of the heritage can be lost within one generation.
It is common for the passion and conviction of one generation to become conviction without passion for the next generation. And then that passionless conviction becomes simply ritual for the next generation. And finally ritual becomes forgotten history.
So what am I doing to leave a spiritual family tree?
If your spiritual family tree has deep roots—what are you doing to keep it healthy and growing straight and bearing fruit?
- Who has influenced me? How did they do it?
- What must I do to insure that I have conviction, passion and own my own relationship with the Lord?
- Who am I influencing to develop a spiritual family tree?
Psalm 78:1–8 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. (ESV)