A few weeks ago, I visited my parents in North Carolina. Mom and I took a drive through the country and visited a few of my great uncles. My Uncle Willie, age 89, answered the door with a straight back and a spry welcome! Regardless of his age, he has as great a sense of humor as he ever did (this is the uncle who said, “Be careful who you marry, because the only thing worse than being lonely is wishing you were!”) and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him talk about the old days.
After we’d been there a while, he made mention of a tent revival that came through my home town back in the 1940’s. He said when he returned from World War II, everyone in his family, other than him and his dad had come to know the Lord. He said “that revival saved my family.” He didn’t mean that the revival itself saved his family, but that the gospel presented at the revival changed his family spiritually forever. When he returned from war, his siblings, mother, and fiancée were born again believers; and, before long, so was he.
This story intrigued me because I remember hearing stories about how my home church was birthed out of a tent revival that passed through our area in the 1940’s. My dad’s parents and my mom’s grandmother were all charter members of this church. I can remember hearing my paternal grandmother talk about that revival and how God changed her life during that time. She said that she went to church as a kid, but did not really know the Lord until after she was married. This revival came through just after she and my grandfather were married.
With all of the above, I realized that I can trace my spiritual heritage to this tent revival. Both my mom’s family and my dad’s family received Christ during this time. Personally, I find it so cool that both sides of my family came to know the Lord at the same time. According to stories Uncle Willie told me, our family was full of alcoholics and hot tempered, angry men (complete with knives and guns). He can remember their lives changing when they received Christ as Savior. Even though I wouldn’t come onto the scene for another thirty-five years or so, it fills my heart with such joy knowing that God was preparing my path to Him long before I was born.
You may be a first generation believer or you may come from a long line of preachers and Sunday school teachers. Whatever your story, you have a spiritual heritage, and so does your boyfriend/girlfriend. Over coffee or a meal, sit down with your sweetheart and talk about your spiritual heritage. Ask him or her, “What does your spiritual heritage reveal about you?”
If you don’t know much about your heritage, contact your family who know (or who may know how to direct you) and learn. It is good for you to know about your legacy and it’s good for you to both share your stories with each other. This will not only give you further insight into your boyfriend/girlfriend’s life, but it will also inspire theological discussions which are wonderful to have prior to engagement (and potentially devastating to ignore prior to engagement).
Do you know all there is to know about your spiritual heritage?