Do you know your family heritage? Have you ever taken the time to trace it back more than two generations? Back before my grandmother died I decided to make my mother a family heritage scrapbook. I would go over to my grandmother’s house once a week and we would sort through pictures and she would tell me the stories behind each one while I furiously took notes. I never knew how precious those days would become to me in the future. My grandmother developed Alzheimer’s and our family history would have been locked inside of her had I not spent those days with her recording our family’s story. Now I can look at the pictures in the album and not only know who the people are, but remember the way my grandmother spun the tale of each one.
Jacob was visited by God on his journey to Padden Ram to take a wife and he was reminded of his family’s heritage [Genesis 28:10-22]. In verse 13 God identifies Himself “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.” God was explaining the history of relationships He had with Jacob’s forefathers; however, Jacob had to decide if God would be his God. Christianity is the only religion where you must make an individual choice to follow God and have a relationship with Him. If you’re born into a Jewish family, you’re considered a Jew. If you’re born into a Muslim family, you’re considered a Muslim. If you’re born into a Christian family, you are blessed because the deck has been stacked in favor of you becoming a Christian, but the choice is yours.
I’ve heard it said that being in a Christian family doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being in McDonald’s makes you a hamburger. The Lord bids us to come, but we come of our own accord. We do not ride the coattails of another.
Matthew 7:13-14 talks of the narrow gate that leads to a relationship with the Lord. Every time I read those verses I am reminded of the narrow gate out of the slave castle in Ghana which the slaves passed through to board a ship to their new destiny. There was no way more than one person at a time would fit through it.
The same could be said of the narrow gate Jesus is talking about. We cannot pass through it except one at a time and it is a gateway into our new destiny. Unlike the salves in Ghana, we will not be forced to walk through the gate. The choice is ours.