Week 1 Sunday/Monday

All in the Family

Today’s scripture selection: Matthew 1-2

Key verse: Matthew 2:6

In just a few weeks I will be officially over the hill, a little over half-a-century old. (Actually, by six years, but who’s counting?)  Still, I can remember what it was like to be a young kid, sitting on the carpet in my grandparent’s home in Ohio, watching BONANZA and enjoying an “Eskimo Pie”.  Back in those days I didn’t have any responsibilities.  I had few worries.  I wasn’t a husband or a pastor or a citizen.  I was just a kid.  I was Osie and Pappy’s grandson; Gene and June’s little boy; Chuck’s younger brother.  But already the die was cast.  I was soon to be a member of God’s kingdom – baptized by my own father, himself a minister.  And, though I didn’t know it then, that first critically important choice would richly color my life forever more.

In Matthew’s gospel we learn that there “were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.”  Matthew, writing to a Jewish audience, wanted to make a point.  The Savior was a descendant of Abraham.  And, while we might find that long genealogy in chapter one tedious, it says a lot.  It reminds us that, over thousands of years, God was at work, carefully preparing to rescue His people through the ordinary – and sometimes extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

He still does that.  God reaches out to us in both ordinary and extraordinary ways to reminds us of one thing – how much He loves us.  And we, one life at a time, can be part of that redemptive story.  You are only one person in a vast sea of humanity.  But you are important.  You are part of a story, made up of many generations.  You have unique gifts and gifts that are only yours to share.  You can be part of God’s redemptive story, both as recipient and giver.  You are more than somebody’s kid; somebody’s brother or sister; somebody’s employee or employer; somebody’s mom or dad or grandparent.  You are God’s own beloved.  Enjoy the journey and make it count – one changed life at a time.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for lovingly calling me to be part of your family.  Show me how to live out my destiny according to your will.  Help me to be thankful for each and every opportunity to live my life fully and abundantly.  In Jesus’ holy name, AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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