Happy New Year to you all. The inspiration for this article was a question posed on Quora. For those of you who are not familiar, Quora is a question-and-answer website where all kinds of questions are asked, answered, edited and organised by the community of users. The particular question on Quora which caught my attention was:
My initial response was to focus directly on answering the question and interpret it from a pure world-based view. I realised that one of the key factors that influences the response to the question is the meaning behind the terms “king” and “queen”. I descend from a whole family tree of individuals that go way back in to the history of our world; we all do. So being a descendant on its own does not change anything! Whether my grandfather or another ancestor in my lineage was someone famous or obscure does not change the reality of today and my life.
The more I think about it, there is a danger of diluting the meaning and significance of the ancestry. The classic question is “so what?” – so what if King X was your ancestor? The deeper you dig with the questions, the focus shifts. Who was King X? What does history say about them, their life, and the impact they had? What if King X was more infamous than famous, and their deeds resulted in undesirable outcomes? The more I think and wonder, I realise the hypothetical possibilities do make this potentially something I may not like to uncover.
The element of inheritance makes a difference in terms of whether it has an impact on you as a descendant of a king or queen. If there were an inheritance, I imagine it could well make a difference in my life – after all, I would definitely appreciate any monetary windfall that would help improve my financial situation! If there were no inheritance then the meaning and significance of being a descendant of royal blood, for me, becomes an academic fact – nice to know but ultimately a feel-good fact.
A walk through my genealogy
Take for example my own personal quest that I explored over the last 20 years. Since I lost my mother at a young age – to cancer – the loss and glaring hole in my ancestry partly fuelled my desire to know and discover my family history and roots. Some of it is now documented on my personal website/blog, and the wealth of diverse stories of my more immediate family at my grandparents or great-grandparent’s generation are fascinating to hear and document. My journey in discovering my roots and who I descended from enriched my understanding and content that all these individuals had eventually led to me and my life now.
The harsh reality of undesirable truths in my own personal family tree was something I had to come to terms with. Suicide, murder and multiple marriages all feature in my family tree! Partly the question piqued my interest because of my own direct personal experience in fulfilling the role of family historian/genealogist. I can say with a degree of confidence and authority that digging for answers to discover the potential of being a descendant of a king/queen may not uncover desirable truths just as my own family testimony shows.
My journey to discover my roots has ultimately led to some dead-ends. I have a family tree that has grown in width more than depth primarily because there is only so far back one can go before there is no one left to talk to! If it were not for some of the basic names and facts my mother had documented the earliest branches, my family tree would be unknown and lost now. Amongst the millions of Chinese, the names become little more than just that, with little to no information available to find. And just like that, the meaning and significance of my ancestry is somewhat diminished into a random fact.
It is from a Christian perspective when this topic becomes even more interesting. The Bible teaches me, as a believer, that I become a son in and of Christ – a descendant of the King of Kings. In this way, the Bible offers me (and you) the most appropriate boost to my self-esteem. After all, my identity is in Christ. My identity is not defined by possessions or experiences; what I do or think.
Instead, as the well-known worship song Good Good Father says, it is all about who God is and not who I am. As that song declares, “It’s who you are, and I’m loved by you”. Believing and following Christ is part of my salvation and it is the key to securing the eternal inheritance promised by God. The Bible further explains that the inheritance offered by God to me through His Son is eternal life – to be in His presence and spend eternity with Him.
When I reflect on this, I truly appreciate these truths as character building and edifying. Digging deeper and unpacking more of these biblical truths has the opposite effect from my own personal exploration of my genealogy. God’s truth and love for me as His son is a blessed and wonderful assurance.
Nic Lee works by day as a Business Analyst Consultant whilst, outside of business hours, maintains an IT support & website services business. He volunteers with 89.9 LightFM (Christian Community Radio). Nic has served for over twenty years in his local church, in worship, technology consulting, life group leading and event management.