Family Tree

July 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

Having just moved into our new home, I have selected a place of honor for one of our heirlooms. It is a framed charcoal drawing of one of my husband’s ancestors. The name on the back of the picture is James Spilvin Willis. The rendering of Great-great-grandfather Willis reminds me of the painting of Mona Lisa. He is not smiling, and his eyes seem to follow us around the room! He is wearing a dark suit with a high cut vest and a white shirt with no tie. His face is sporting a type of scruffy goatee minus the mustache. His hair is clipped short. He reminds me of a circuit preacher. I would like to find out more about this forefather of ours.

I researched the Internet, and found out that Great-great-grandpa Willis was born in 1837 and lived until 1881, dying at the age of 43. Noah was the name of his father. I discovered the names of his six children, as well. I found it interesting that one son was named Martin Luther Willis, who lived 82 years. Martin Luther Willis was the father of my husband’s grandfather. I can’t help but wonder, with the biblical name of Noah for James’ father, and since he named his own son Martin Luther, if the man behind this picture hanging on my wall was a preacher, just like his great-great-grandson.

I go into all this detail to share this thought: we should each be thankful for our forefathers. We are shaped by how our families before us lived—and not just our blood relatives. Many of us have Christian brothers and sisters who have taken the time to mentor us. Think about who shared Christ with you….and who shared Christ with that person. You could almost trace it back much like a family tree.

But the most important aspect of this family tree is that we bear fruit as Christians and form new branches. I hope to have those who follow me who can attribute their spiritual walk, in part, to the influence I’ve had in their lives, and I’m sure you do too. What are you doing now to see the tree of Christian Life continue to grow and multiply?

Thank the ones who have impacted your life while you still have time. And pray for God to show you the name of someone into whom you can pour your own life. We have no choice about impacting others; we only have the choice of whether we are impacting them for the good, or for the bad. How does YOUR Christian family tree look today?

QUOTE: “In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”
—Alex Haley

“He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of His salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face, O Jacob. Selah” (Psalm 24:5,6 KJV).

Today’s devotion is by Kathy Carlton Willis, wife to Russ, pastor’s wife to many, author, editor, publicist and a certified CLASSeminars speaker. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Learn more about how she reflects Christ as she shines the spotlight on others at: or

About Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis shines, whether she’s shining the light on God’s writers and speakers, or reflecting God’s Light during her speaking programs. She is Christ-servant, wife to Russ, editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars faculty and AWSA member. KCW Communications encompasses her many passions. Schedule Kathy for a speaking event or contact her firm for promotional assistance. Learn more at


One Response to “Family Tree”
  1. Robin J. Steinweg says:

    Wow, Kathy, that’s good: “We have no choice about impacting others; we only have the choice of whether we are impacting them for the good, or for the bad.”

    A sobering, yet inspiring thought!

    I’ll be inspecting my branch for bugs today.


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