A lesson learned from a genealogy

Genealogy TreeIn reading through the names in the genealogy in Matthew 1, it is tempting to skip through to verse 18 where the text gets more interesting. “Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of . . . .” is not riveting reading. It is like walking through a graveyard. There are a bunch of names of dead people who seemingly have very little impact on how I get through my day.

Some of the names are important people in Israel’s history. Of others we know nothing more than their name and where they fit in the genealogy. Some were obedient to God and were praised; some were disobedient and went on to ignominy.

This is exactly the choice that all men (and women) have to make. We choose to be obedient or disobedient; we must make this choice every moment of every day. Like those men in the genealogy, our lives will be defined by the sum of our choices. We cannot work our way into Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9), but Jesus does give indication that there will be rewards and a hierarchy in eternity. It is through obedience and service that the rewards are accumulated.

Rich or poor, influential or insignificant, popular or unknown, talented or untalented, we all are called to follow God in obedience. In that sense we are all the same. We cannot use the excuse that our choices do not matter, because all of Scripture teaches us that they do. Specifically, the words of Jesus in Luke 16:10-13 come to mind:

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (NASB)

Someone told me “mind your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” In the same way, if we choose faithfulness in the little things, the foundation will be laid for faithfulness in the big things.

Let us choose to be obedient in the small things.