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My friend Kristen went to her grandmother’s house one year to help her set up the annual Christmas tree. But when she lifted an ottoman to move it out of the way, she noticed a piece of tape on the bottom with some writing on it. It was labeled, “Sam.” At first she wondered if maybe part of the price tag had been left on. However, when she picked up an end table she found that it had been taped as well. It was labeled, “Linda.” Now she was curious. 

Kristen began wandering from room to room checking under furniture. And sure enough, absolutely everything had been named. Finally, behind a china cabinet in the dining room she found her own name, “Kristen.” She eventually decided to ask her grandmother why the furniture was labeled. What she found out was that her grandmother didn’t want the family arguing after she passed away regarding who got which pieces of furniture.

Now Kristen could see the kindness in that action. Her grandmother was trying to prevent some of those awkward and argumentative family moments that can happen when people try to decide who inherits what after a family member passes away. But she said it also gave her a weird new sense whenever she was in the house about whose chair in which she may be sitting.

The truth is, we inherit so much more than furniture from our families. There’s so much that families pass down to us that will never be listed in anyone’s will. And anyone who has ever heard words come out of their mouth and then thought, “I sound just like my mother”, knows that very deeply all of us carry with us the marks from the families that we grew up in. Sometimes those are lovely and admirable things. But other times they are less than desirable. And it may not be a bad idea for you and I to do a little checking under our “spiritual furniture” to see where it all comes from. After all, some of those characteristics that we have inherited from our own families we’ll be passing down someday to children or others we love.  There is some sort of motivation in that, at least for me, to think that we need to know who we are before we begin transferring ourselves on to the next generation.

Ready for a scriptural evaluation of your own "spiritual furniture," check out Broken and Blessed. A six-week Bible study by Jessica LaGrone that traces the story of the Genesis family from Adam and Eve through the generations to Joseph, each story bringing blessing from brokenness. Jessica is an Associate Pastor at The Woodlands United Methodist Church in The Woodlands, Texas. An acclaimed preacher, teacher, and author. Jessica enjoys speaking at retreats and events at churches throughout the United States. She and her husband, Jim, have two young children, Drew and Kate. 

Post based on Broken and Blessed, Jessica's new Bible study on the book of Genesis. For ordering information, click here.