Establishing One’s Place In History

By Fred Whitted
Updated: August 16, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA — One of the definitions for revelations should be seeing what God has been trying to show you. This really hit home after preparing for a recent cell group meeting.

The group had been assigned to do pedigree charts of their families. From this, they would choose various ones to discuss what they had contributed to the family. As expected, this produced a mixed bag of perceived winners and losers.

There were the usual favorites and the outcasts.

The purpose of this exercise is to establish one’s place in history. Part of the process is to draw a parallel between our lives and the lives of biblical personalities. This is easy, and productive, if we do not wax spiritual. If we truly understand those people in the bible are just like us, we can develop a healthy perspective.

Using the pedigree chart we are able to establish our lineage. It does not matter how deep or shallow our information may be. We have the ability to lay out those family members in chronological order.

We are then able to look at them individually and see their contributions and experiences. Using this information, we are able to see our family’s impact on the community, and, the community’s impact on the family.

This is one of those areas some in ministry tend to shy away from. Unfortunately, it opens the door for a level of ignorance that set us back rather than moving us forward. Typically, we tend to look at life based on those with star qualities rather than those who move at their own pace and still contribute in their own way.

Among the things that I did to prepare for the class was to do a search on the word “begot.” Knowing what it meant was important as some among us fail to grasp lessons being posted right in front us.

First, lineage is very important. That is why it is mentioned so often. Some would have you believe that wealth is a magic act. True wealth is planted, groomed, then, harvested for the benefit of those who own the farm.

Next, we must see the connections between us and those who went before us. We must see the value in each person, no matter how they may seem outwardly. Adam, and many others, sinned against God.

David looked like someone who looked like a sheep herder, not a king. Still, at the appointed time, God raised him up. The same applied to several other like Paul, and others that in the Body of Christ.

What we see today is not likely to sustain us for long. This should remind us to look beyond the surface and see the picture God is showing us in every way possible.

At the same time, when you look at those chapters that contain lines of “begot” we miss a key message. This is how we learn how God put things together. He used a line of people of various qualities. Beginning with Adam we fine that many of these people had flaws.

David was a promiscuous murderer, but, God said he was a man after his own heart. Abraham tried to help God and so on. From this we should learn that God uses all sorts of people to fulfill his purpose. It does not matter who we think may be great or small.

One of the important things for us to see is how people in our families have added to us and those around us. I learn that many of the older people that I knew as a youngster were delivered by my great grandmother who was the local midwife.

It put an interesting spin on how I looked at many of the people I knew, especially some of the racist whites who were too poor to go to the hospital. My great grandmother helped bring them into the world.

I made another interesting discovery. My grand father was a great businessman. Since there was only a small school in the community, his formal education was likely quite limited. Still, in spite of such limitations, this man acquired a lot of land.

He was a leader in the community. He was an officer in the local Methodist church. Among the things he helped do for local youth was provided a school that his own children were too old to benefit from.

Bertie Whitted probably never heard the term generational thinker. As a man who followed the bible, he did what he saw God do. What he did set the stage for the success of his grand children who were not yet born.

He acquired land that he later gave to his sons. He even deeded land to them for their houses and for them to go into farming, the foundation for all that our family has become.

Now, there was one child who benefited from my grandfather’s generational thinking. In supplying land for a school, he also set the stage for the hiring of a teacher. That teacher was a young lady who had just graduated from Fayetteville State, Josephine Hooper.

The daughter of a Methodist minister, she came into the community and into Dove Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church where Manley Whitted was an active member. He happens to be the oldest son of Bertie Whitted. Manley and Josephine met and married in September 1923.

My point in all of this is that what we see played out in the bible is also played out in our lives. What seems to be insignificant at the time can often become foundational for people who show up generations later.

My grandfather died years before I was born. I was raised on land he bought in 1905. Keep in mind, my father was only two years old.

As a people, if we knew and understood our history, we would see so many things that set the stage for our greatness. We cannot dwell on the negative atmosphere. There were likely members of the Klan who owned land all around my grandfather.

He bought the land anyway. He made several major acquisitions over the years. He also helped to improve things for the community through his church and in conjunction with the Baptist church.

I shiver to think where we would have been if he had chosen to think of just himself. On the other hand, maybe he was just following what he learned from the bible: Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s childrenProverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.

Was he wise beyond his years, or, was he just following instructions? Either way, he was a master of generational thinking without knowing what it was.