by Ken Rolheiser
Called to God’s Family Tree

Jackson was doing research on his family tree. He got back as far as the civil war. Then he hit a Stone Wall.

Spiritually it is more exciting to search for our ancestors in the faith. Scripture tells us of God’s plan for us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5). 

Not only were we called to our place in the family tree, we were given a task: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. …I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). 

My grandparents did their job well. They kept the faith in Russia and brought it to Canada, to Grosswerder, in St Joseph’s Colony, West Central Saskatchewan. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

We are specially called and chosen: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16).

I marvel at God’s plans. Recently at a Canora Ministerial Association meeting I was struck by the dedication of the pastors in our town and in all towns. God chose them to lay down their lives for us, the flock. They pray for us and lead us in our churches. I marvel at their dedication.

I am no stranger to how the Lord calls his ministers. Often the Lord leaves little choice. Picture Salome when Zebedee tells her about James and John leaving the family fishing business and following Jesus.

 “They did what? They just left? Just like that? Who’s going to handle their jobs? You’re too old to do this by yourself. Oy, what will we do?”

One of my brothers was called and left his plans for university and joined the novitiate at seventeen. My other brother told us how he knelt on the combine sieves behind the farm garage and prayed for strength to follow God’s call. Neither had a doubt or a regret as they served God for more than 110 years combined to date.

Growing up with them it was not a surprise that they heard and followed God, “Who has saved us, and called us to be holy - not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace. …granted to us in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time.” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

You and I have to meet the same challenge of God’s calling to us. It may be as grandparents, as parents and as children. How are our children to know unless we lead them on Sunday morning.

Scary? That we are all called along with our pastors? “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1).

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