A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to preach at the centenary of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hounslow, West London. It was a particular privilege because the original group of pioneering church planters all those years ago was led by my great great grandfather and subsequently by my great grandfather. I didn't know either of them, but they seem to have been people of exciting faith.
The Bible says that God blesses the families of people who love him, to the third and fourth generation. In recent years I have discovered more and more Christian leaders who were previously unknown to me through various generations and branches of my family (thank you internet!).
Last night I discovered another that thrilled me. A Leicester minister with whom I occasionally do some work emailed me to say that he had seen that I preached at the church centenary, and that my great great grandfather was his great grandfather. We have known each other for a number of years without knowing we are distant cousins!
Every discovery like this makes me think that those long-departed ancestors really loved God, and that he has really honoured them. I wonder if they ever prayed for descendants who would be preachers pastors? I think they probably did.
And now I am wondering if God will continue to bring blessing through the family for generations to come because of the love we have for him. Will people in four generations time be looking at faded photos of me and my new-found cousin, thanking God for people of faith who made a difference for the Kingdom in their generation?