A Spiritual Family Tree

What does your family tree look like? I am not so concerned about your biological family tree. Frankly, that is of very little interest to me. I'm interested in your spiritual family tree. From where did you come spiritually? Who shared the faith with you? And who shared the faith with them? If you are a believer, you are in a long line dating all the way back to Abraham. But even more importantly, what does your spiritual family tree look like going forward? What growth is budding off of your branch? This is Asaph's concern in Psalm 78. It is a glorious Psalm about passing on the faith to the next generation. It is quite easy to dismiss the call of Asaph--to treat this charge as something light or as someone else's duty; but it is anything but a light charge and it is our duty. 

This faith that is marked by who God is and what He has done for His people is something that we must see as our great obligation to pass on. Asaph says, "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" (Psalm 78:4). He continues by saying, "He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach our children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" (Psalm 78:5-6). We want to see this next generation cherish, love, and delight in this God of creation, providence, and redemption. 

Others have done this very thing for us. We are now the recipients of this faith--this “good deposit” (2 Tim. 1:14). And Asaph is concerned that we see it as our duty to pass it on to the next generation that it might not be lost. You may being saying to yourself, "But it won't be lost! Didn't our Lord Jesus say, 'The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church'?" Although that is a true and solid promise, God has chosen to use His people as agents to preserve and propagate this truth.

Asaph was one such agent. In composing this Psalm, he was communicating things that he had heard and known--things that his father and his father's fathers told his generation. Luke does the same thing in the Gospel of Luke and Acts. In writing to Theophilus, he said that he sought to, “Compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us” (Luke 1:2).

Here is a gift of infinite value--a gift given to us, and one that we can give to others. Who has ever know a gift of such great value? Yet, we can give it away and never exhaust its worth in giving it to others. There is nothing like it.

Whenever I think of passing on the faith, I think of Eunice and Lois--Timothy's mother and grandmother. These two faithful women who were bold in passing on the faith to their son and grandson. They knew the value of what they had. They treasured it and wanted him to have it too. Someone did that for me. If you're a believer, someone did that for you. I don't know who that was. It may have been your mother and father, your pastor, your Sunday School teacher, your neighbor, or even a complete stranger. I don't know who, but someone did it for you.

Men will kill, work, labor and live to sow a legacy, but the greatest legacy we can leave in our wake is a generation of worshippers after us. We all have a spiritual family tree. It has extended to us, may it not end there. I hazard to think that when we are assembled in heaven, when we are dwelling with all the saints gathered from every generation, that we will see the connections of our spiritual family tree. And I wonder, how long will the branches of your family tree extend? How many will trace their line through you all the way back to Abraham? By God's grace, I hope it is many. Pass on the faith. We have a gift of infinite value. We dare not keep it to ourselves.

Jason Helopoulos