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Saturday, July 3, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Matthew 1

When I was single and dating, there were two criteria I used to help me decide whether or not I was interested in continuing to see the person.

The first thing I used in my process of evaluation was the length of the friendships in my potential suitor’s life. If the person didn’t have friendships from various stages of their life (i.e. high school, college, work, etc.) it suggested to me the person was prone to re-inventing himself every couple of years – and chances are our relationship would just be a part of this re-definition process so I wouldn’t pursue the relationship further.

For those who made it through the rigorous first stage in my process of evaluation, the second stage involved an assessment of their relationship with their family. I certainly knew that not everyone has a great relationship with their family. That’s why I didn’t expect them to be best friends with all of their family members. As long as the individual continued to maintain contact and made a conscious effort to stay connected in some way, shape, or form, then that was fine by me. The person’s relationship with family members was important to me because it gave me insight into how the person managed relationships that were most important/formative in his development. It told me whether the person would hang in there and try to work things out with loved ones, or if he would be content to simply walk away when things got tough.

Those were the two yardsticks by which I measured potential suitors. And you thought the beauty pageant process was rigorous! 

I was reminded of those yardsticks this morning as I read today’s opening words from Matthew – for the Gospel of Matthew kicks off with the author(s) of the Gospel listing a relatively intricate genealogy of Jesus.

Some folks wonder why the author(s) would include such boring details right out of the gate. It’s not exactly page-turning kind of material that draws the reader in immediately.

True. But the material is important because it suggests Jesus’ life and ministry did not exist in a vacuum; it was the product of generations and generations of faithful journeyers who helped create a context for Jesus’ life and ministry.

So if I were to bump into you today at Starbucks (yes, I am obsessed with Starbucks!) and said as we sat down for a cup of coffee, “So tell me your story” I wonder how you would begin telling your story. Would you edit your story and focus solely on those elements that would present you as a self-made individual; or would you put your story into perspective by placing it within the context of those who have come before you?

Til next time…

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