Our Christian Family Tree
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” -2 Timothy 1:5
This past weekend at ABCRM’s Annual Gathering in Vail, Colorado we celebrated the American Baptist domination’s 200th Anniversary. We could not have planned to have a more beautiful, warm weekend. This celebration has made me stop and think about my rich, Christian heritage and the privilege it is to be a part of the American Baptist family-tree.
Around 67 or 68 AD Paul was in prison awaiting his execution. During this time he wrote a letter to his young spiritual son or mentee, Timothy. Paul wanted Timothy to know that he was praying for him and wanted to leave behind some spiritual guidance for him to apply to his life. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul reminds Timothy that his sincere faith is something that was exemplified by his grandmother and mother and what a gift that was.
I like Timothy have been blessed to come from a family of faith. My mom’s grandfather was a traveling evangelist across the United States and he raised his family up to fear and love God. This faith in turn gave me a grandparents and a mother who shared God’s Word with me and sang me hymns and praise songs when I was growing up. I can still recall the lyrics and promises that these songs impressed upon my heart at a young age.
My American Baptist Christian Heritage started around 1915 when my paternal great-grandmother Freda Whitford started going to West Springfield First Baptist Church in Pennsylvania. She was around the age 11 and would go to church as much as she could. Then, when she was about 15 she moved to live with her uncle in a town called Cambridge Springs and there a neighbor invited her to the First Baptist Church in town. She married, raised her children up in the church and future generations came as result of her faith and obedience to Christ. I am the 4th generation of Shearer’s to be raised, baptized, and become a member of this church. It is such an honor and blessing to have this deep, rich Christian heritage and I pray that I can continue it one day.
Perhaps you do not come from a long-line of Christians, pastors, or American Baptists, but I want you to remember that you have the opportunity to be the first generation to start a heritage of faith in your family or church. You have the opportunity to be a Lois, a loving, Christian grandma or grandpa or maybe even an Abraham, a father of many God serving men and women. Hold onto the rights and promises that you have being a child of God and the 200 year old denomination that you are a part of.
Brothers and sisters, must take our job serious to continue planting, growing, and harvesting future generations for Jesus Christ and making His name known all over the world! May you hold on tightly to your faith and not take it for granted.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you beyond words can express for the gift of salvation and faith. Thank you for giving us godly examples to aspire to. Father, help us to continue to shine your light to future generations. We praise you for this amazing celebration of your faithfulness! Amen.
Amber J. Shearer