This month Fox News published an article about a family in Kentucky celebrating 6 living generations. Imagine the joy matriarch MaeDell Taylor Hawkins (98) experienced when she met and held her great-great-great-granddaughter. In addition to the special bundle of joy, she also has over 230 great-great-grandchildren. While having that many generations alive at the same time is rare, the value of family is globally appreciated. I've noticed that families celebrate their generations worldwide, no matter their ethnicity, culture, and background.
MaeDell Taylor Hawkins, 98, meets her first biological 6th-generation granddaughter in Kentucky
From 2000 to 2010 my family loved living among the Simbai people in Papua New Guinea. It was a privilege to live among them and learn about them for the purpose of teaching God's Word, making disciples, and planting churches. I spent a lot of time sitting in grass huts listening to their many stories to better understand their core beliefs and worldview. One thing that stood out was the importance of talking about their generations. Many leaders told me that they were the 7th or 8th generation of their tribal clan. They told me stories of their fathers and grandfathers, and some even told me stories of their great-grandfathers, but no one could tell me anything definitive before that. I asked how they knew that there were only 7-8 generations before them. They replied that it is what they were taught and they accepted it. As they learned and studied the Scriptures, they became impressed with the Jewish geneaologies.
Meeting with the Simbai people regularly to learn their worldview and teach them the Scriptures.
Genealogies are important in Scripture, but In Galatians 3 Paul teaches that spiritual generations are more important than physical generations. He warns the Jews to not trust in their genealogical connection to Abraham. He writes that Gentile believers and followers of Christ are spiritual sons & daughters of Abraham by faith. Being a physical descendant of Abraham was not sufficient to be a true child of God. That can only take place by faith, believing in Christ alone.
Missionary Joel Porcher training Mr. Biney in Ghana, West Africa.
After Jesus confronted Paul on the road to Damascus, He sent Ananias to restore his sight and baptize him. Later when Paul went to Jerusalem and when the other disciples were afraid of him, Barnabas took him under his wing. On his second missionary journey, Paul took Timothy under his wing and mentored him. While it's in different formats, the Book of Acts and Paul's epistles record spiritual genealogies. Throughout the New Testament we see a dynamic tree of believers growing in Christ by being taught and discipled by others and then in turn, discipling and training others in the faith. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul challenges him to be faithful in teaching and training men who will then train others. Paul encourages Timothy to lay the foundation for many generations of disciples through deep teaching and training in God's Word.
Mr. Biney evangelizing and discipling others in West Africa.
Pray for ODBM missionaries as they entrust all that they have learned from those who discipled them, to other faithful, godly believers and then train them to teach others also. May God bless ODBM with countless spiritual generations.
Dave - ODBM Director