John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Three generations of Sheridan auctioneers is no small feat. When Grandma Sheridan enrolled Grandpa in auction school forty years ago he may not have realized that one of his sons and grandsons would follow in his steps. But none of these accomplishments happened automatically. They were the result of decisions, planning, and hard work.
Over four decades ago, after much dreaming, Grandma Sheridan enrolled Grandpa in the Knotts School of Auctioneering. For many weeks Grandpa traveled to Chillicothe, Ohio, where he spent hours each Thursday evening taking classes and learning this trade. Over the following months he trained under the best in the business and spent hours perfecting his chant as well as becoming a successful businessman (actually, Grandma helped with the business part!).
In 1995 Dad decided to join the Sheridan auction business, but he did not automatically become an auctioneer just because his father was one. Dad travelled to Missouri Auction School where he spent the required hours taking classes to become certified. After a yearlong apprenticeship, Dad also became a full-fledged auctioneer, and has spent the past two decades years using this gift to help people with their personal property and real estate needs.
This summer Nathan also made the decision to begin his auctioneer journey, but neither was he able to have an easy entrance into the field. Having a grandfather and father in the business did not preclude his need to go to school and get certified. He made the decision, paid the fee, and in June of this year he also attended the Missouri Auction School with an apprenticeship under Dad.
Three generations of Sheridans, but each one had to make the decision and put in the time to become an auctioneer. No one was able to slide in under the table because of past family connections or experience.
This is the way it is with the family of God. A person doesn’t become a Christian just because their father or grandfather made that commitment. They do not gain entrance into heaven because of someone else’s decisions. Each person must recognize their sinful nature and come to God on their own. When a person understands their personal need for a Savior and calls on God for forgiveness, He promises to answer and make them His child. At that moment they are born of the Spirit and have entered the Kingdom of God.
Auctioneer parents don’t automatically produce auctioneer children. It takes a decision and a lot of work. In the same way Christian parents don’t automatically produce Christian children. Each generation needs to come to God on his or her own in order to enter His Kingdom.
While I don’t expect you all will become auctioneers, I trust that each and every one of you will become part of God’s family. But it doesn’t happen automatically. That decision is up to you!