Hank Williams Jr has a song titled “Family Tradition.” I don’t recommend it, but I was reminded of it when I read today’s Scripture passage. There are certain family traditions that we all have. Many of us practice them at our family reunions and gatherings. For Hank Williams Jr., apparently it was drinking and smoking; for my mother’s family, its singing Christmas carols; for my father’s family, it’s eating and playing a certain card game called “pitch.” Apparently, in Abraham’s family, the tradition that all members of the family practice is hospitality. They seem to try to outdo one another in this aspect.
See what I mean by reading Genesis 24:29-33.
Laban has heard from Rebekah that this strange man was a servant of Abraham, his great uncle. We have already seen from multiple accounts how Abraham and his family went out of their way to show hospitality, especially to angelic visitors. Now we see that it is a family tradition! Laban goes above and beyond to take care of this strangers animals and give him everything he needs.
This gets me wondering: if Abraham and his entire family are so well known for their hospitality, what is my family well-known for?
Maybe you come from a family with great family traditions. Maybe you come from a family with a great name.
Or maybe you come from a family that doesn’t have any traditions. Or a family with a bad name.
Or maybe you have no idea what your family traditions are; no idea what your family’s reputation may be.
In any case, there are steps you can take to appreciate and honor the traditions of your family.
1st, do some research. Of course, you can use sites like ancestry.com, but I’m encouraging verbal communication. Ask your parents, and grandparents about any traditions that you may have forgotten about. If they are believers, then ask them about their devotional habits and their spiritual disciplines. Ask longtime friends of the family what they think your family is known for.
2nd, put that research into practice. If your family practices solid Christian disciplines, then ask them how you can practice them too. Teach them to your children, and teach your children to teach these family traditions to their grandchildren. Eventually, the Christian practices of your ancestors will be practiced by their great descendants
On the flip side, if your research reveals that you don’t have many spiritual role-models in your family, then let that motivate you to be the first. Every tradition starts somewhere! You can start your own spiritual disciplines or holiday traditions, and gradually teach them to your children. Maybe your family will eventually ask you about these godly traditions and want to make them family traditions.
Hank Williams Jr. reminds us that family traditions are not always good things, but Abraham’s family encourages us that a family tradition can be godly. We just have to decide if we want to be known as a family that follows God, or not.
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