I started a challenge in the beginning of 2018 to read the entire Bible in a year. I downloaded a helpful app, purchased a new notebook, and started a routine. Well, it’s December 2018 and let’s just say I’m beeeeeeeeehind. Do you know what you have to do when you try to read the entire Bible in a year? You have to actually read it, like all of it. The parts with all the old laws that I don’t understand and then when you get past all that and into the prophets, and battles, and kings, you hit rewind when you get to the book of first Chronicles. It’s literally a history of all the stuff you’ve just read! And, it begins with genealogies. Genealogies are the worst.
But, I’m a big girl with a goal, so I read it. I read all eight chapters of genealogies. It took me until chapter seven to realize the power in the list of names that I was reading. This book would have been read to Israelites after they returned to Jerusalem after being exiled. Who were they now? This book reminded them of their history. With each long list of names I struggled through reading, an Israelite would have heard their family name, would have recognized themselves as a part of God’s plan from the beginning.
I like to imagine that as each family name was read out loud the families in attendance would holler and clap like we do today when we hear our college alma mater or a musician shouts out “How you doin’ New Jersey?”. It probably didn’t happen like that, but hey, who knows?
They were able to connect their identities back to God. God had included them from the start. He had a plan for them. It’s powerful to be reminded that we were always a part of God’s plan.
"God had included them from the start. He had a plan for them."
When you read the Bible or hear stories from it, do you hear your name? Are you able to see how God has included you from the beginning? Are you the tax collector who takes advantage of his position and robs the weak? Are you the woman or man caught in the act of cheating on your spouse? What about the person who has spent years attacking God and those who believe in him? Are you the person who grew up in a Christian home but when things got uncomfortable you denied even knowing Jesus? What about the person who sees the acts of God right in front of them but continues to doubt and question, are you that person?
These people we read about in our bibles were very real, but they are also very us. Jesus interacted with all kinds of people. Different races, gender, socioeconomic status, and marriage status because he is for ALL people. We, you and I, have been written into the very history of Jesus Christ. We are those people.
Do you know what Jesus did with those people? He showed himself to them, welcomed them in, forgave them, and then used them to build the church, change lives, and spread the message of true love around the world. He offers the very same thing to us.
"We are the movement of his Church. We are not an afterthought."
Do you recognize yourself as part of God’s plan from the beginning? When questions arise in your mind about your purpose, your identity, your heritage, your history, your legacy, remember that God has already told us the answers. We are children of God, intentionally made and crafted. We are the movement of his Church. We are not an afterthought. We are a part of his family. We are a part of his plan and have been since the beginning. Embrace it, walk confidently because of it and the next time you read a genealogy in the Bible, remember, that’s your name too.
Written by Carly Voinski,
Worship & Weekend Experience Lead