The weather is turning cooler. Leaves on the trees in my yard are starting to turn loose and fall to the ground. Football is everywhere. All sure signs that Autumn is coming quickly. It’s also the time of year that small groups at my church start back up. When you go to a church of 14,000 small groups are essential to make a mega church feel not so… mega.
Matthew and I were invited to be a part of a small group that one of our associate pastors was hosting in his home. Okay. Sure. Who could say “No thanks” to that invite? We found out that it’s a study about Israel. Okay. Sure. I could use some information on Israel… Really? Israel? I wasn’t too sure about that, but maybe there’d be food.
When we arrived for our first installment, we were warmly welcomed into a really beautiful home. Soon the other folks who had also received an invitation arrived. It was an interesting crowd and we quickly met everyone and conversations ensued. It was kind of like one of those “Clue” parties, only not so much. It was an odd mix of singles and couples, older and younger… with Matthew and I filling the bill for the “older”.
Quite a unique woman led the teaching on Israel. She was a little older than me and was a vibrant lady in both dress and mannerism. We were invited to be seated in the large den and as everyone took their places she began. I had been a bit curious about a group learning about Israel. What would we learn? Was this going to be a snoozer? I can say in all confidence, it was not a snoozer. The next hour and half passed and I was sure it had only been a few minutes.
She talked about Abraham and the promise he received about being the father of many nations. She talked of Isaac and Jacob. She talked about how we, as Christ followers, had been grafted into the vine and were now heirs and full-fledged members of Abraham’s family… the family of God. It was all very exciting.
I am not much of a note taker, but I wrote down one thing the leader said. It was a quote from Billy Graham. When she was talking about how Abraham had been promised by God that his descendants would be as plentiful as the stars in the sky, she talked about how that included both his genetic descendants and his spiritual ones.
Then she quoted, “God does not have grandchildren.”
I thought, “Wow. I like that.” I liked much of what this lady had to say, but that one statement struck a chord in my heart. I quickly scribbled it down for later. As my kids grow up and out, Matthew and I have tried to teach them that at some point in their lives, they have to own their faith… and the sooner the better. Just because I am God’s daughter, doesn’t mean that my kids are his grandkids. God’s family doesn’t work that way. Each of us has to come to a faith all our own.
So many of us living here in the Bible belt want to ride on the coattails of our parent’s faith, but Christianity is not something one inherits like blue eyes or brown hair, freckles or big ears. We are not Christian simply because we were born in a “Christian nation”. (Sadly, some even question if it really is a Christian nation any longer.)
Each of us has to make that decision to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit on our lives when that time comes. It’s an important lesson for us to learn and to pass on to our children. As Christians, the Father loves us all equally. The inheritance he gives to his children is spread equally among those who call him Abba. We each are no less loved as he chooses us to come into his family, than when he chose to show favor on the people of Israel. We are his children. His kids. No grandchildren.