What is a genealogy? For me, it’s a long, boring list of names. When I come across a genealogy in the Bible, I slog through it or even skip it.
But my attitude about genealogy changed when I saw a movie about Sudanese refugees. The refugees, who fled from war-torn Sudan to Kenya and ultimately to the United States, stand and recite their own genealogy aloud. They resolve never to forget who they are and where they come from. This knowledge of their identity anchors them in the midst of chaos and change.
When my Sunday morning teen boys’ Bible study hit the genealogy sections in 1 and 2 Chronicles, I knew we faced terribly long lists of strange names. The books of Chronicles were written while the Israelites were captive in Babylon, desperate to remember their spiritual identity.
Identity is a big issue for these teen boys, too. Will they be men who work tirelessly or cut corners? Will they cheat or choose integrity? How will they grow into their identity as followers of Jesus?
Several guys in the Bible study group have finished high school and are now making major choices about the direction of their lives. They have grown up in a setting where the standard for “normal” manhood is low. I am praying that they make wise choices to walk in God’s way and be leaders of a new spiritual generation.
TRAVIS AND LYDIA KLINGFORTH are part of a NavMissions team in Nakuru, Kenya, that is engaged in whole-life discipleship in many areas of their city, including several low-income neighborhoods. Travis focuses on investing in young men, who are crucial in the transformation of their urban communities. Lydia homeschools their two sons and also works with a team of volunteers to teach classes preparing expectant mothers for childbirth.