For the past several days I’ve been reading ‘meaningless’ genealogies for my quiet time. I’d been breathing easier since completing the book of Numbers. I guess it has been long enough since I made it through the whole Bible (higher math required) that I forgot about the lists at the beginning of 1 Chronicles. You may recall that I am trying to find myself in every Bible character as I go along. (OK, the method has its drawbacks.)
I’m really trying to read these names. If I’m not skimming, then I have to try to pronounce them in my head. Izrahiah, Chenaanah, Azmavethor, Harnepher. Thank God for His sense of comic relief, occasionally throwing in the likes of Shuppim and Huppim. And it would be a lot better if everyone got a mention like Sheerah, “who built both Lower and Upper Beth-horon.” (Well, maybe not a lot better.) Eventually, I lose interest and begin to skim.
So I’m reading these tongue-twisters thinking, who cares? And that is where I found myself in the text. I sometimes feel like someone to be skimmed over. If I don’t do something significant, if I don’t leave something worth a mention, then no one will remember me or care about me. I will not have made my mark – for myself or for God. I want my memorial to be like this one: “All of these were men of Asher, heads of fathers’ houses, approved, mighty warriors, chiefs of the princes.” I want it to say that I am mighty, that I am approved. I really want to see it in print. Ann Voskamp is the ethereal writer of the Christian best-seller, One Thousand Gifts. She tackles the same idea in her blog, stating, “There’s always something barking loud in you that you need a bigger field. A better kid, a bigger house, a greater life, a grander point. There’s always part of you that wonders if anything you do matters enough.” (And, yeah, she tackles it more eloquently.)
But as I skim past names I can’t pronounce, it occurs to me that God delights in all these people. God keeps track. He still knows who they are 3000 years later. A friend of mine said that God probably reads these lists like we watch video clips of our children. Every name conjures a face and a story and a gift in His mind. All these names are written in His book, and mine is, too.