Two Family Trees

Mark HersheyBlog

Two Family Trees

I have been giving the wrong answer to a question I’ve been asked my entire life. Because of my last name, people often ask me if I’m related to Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s candy bars. I would just smile back and say something to the effect of, “Not enough to see any of the profits,” or I’d explain that Milton and his wife never had any children so no one is an actual descendant. This changed recently when I received some information from a relative who did some research on our family tree. It turns out that my great-great-great-great-grandfather and Milton Hershey’s father were brothers. Perhaps on my next trip back to Pennsylvania I need to stop by the chocolate factory and ask for my cut!

There is a sense of pride for anyone who learns of ancestors’ accomplishments. If you do not know Milton Hershey’s story, he was a man who was intensely devoted to the community around him. He started an orphanage and a school in Hershey, PA, where young boys and girls live in houses with their own house parents. Growing up nearby, I was on a soccer team that would play theirs, and their team always had the best uniforms and fields. The rest of their school grounds were among some of the nicest as well, containing an equestrian center, a working farm, and four swimming pools. (Just Google “Milton Hershey school” to see for yourself.) Anyway, in studying his life, I was impressed with how Milton Hershey leveraged his wealth and fame for the good of others. So why am I sharing this with you? Am I trying to influence your candy-buying habits as you prepare for Halloween?

As proud of this loose connection with my heritage as I might be, there is a family tree of much greater significance and importance. Our heavenly Father chose us to be a part of His family. Romans 11 speaks of believers literally being “grafted” into this holy family tree. We become a new branch among the other sons and daughters of God. As His children, we draw our significance and identity from our heavenly Father, who adopted us into His family. And as we are a part of this greater family, we have to ask the question, “How am I going to continue this legacy in our family tree?” How are you passing your faith to the next generation? One of the most important things we can do is merely live it out ourselves.

At Hope we desire to engage with you and your family in continuing this family of faith. We want you to be the difference in your family. We want you to be the one to start conversations, ask questions, and point others to Jesus. We want to equip you with the resources to do that. If you haven’t seen any of the Hope @ Home resources, I encourage you to check them out in the Middle Lobby. We are changing and adding new resources all the time. It is a great first step on this journey.

May the Lord give you wisdom, grace, and vision as you seek to leave a legacy centered on the Lord.