You-ve probably never heard of George McCluskey. To my knowledge, no biographies have been written about his life. McCluskey was a man who decided to make a shrewd investment. As he married and started a family, he decided to invest one hour a day in prayer. He was concerned that his kids might follow Christ and establish their own homes where Christ was honored. After a time, he decided to expand his prayers to include not only his children, but their children and the children after them. Every day between 11 A.M. and noon, he would pray for the next three generations.
As the years went by, his two daughters committed their lives to Christ and married men who went into full time ministry. The two couples produced four girls and one boy. Each of the girls married a minister and the boy became a pastor. The first two children born to this generation were both boys. Upon graduation from high school, the two cousins chose the same college and became roommates. During their sophomore year, one of the boys decided to go into the ministry as well. The other one didn't. He knew the family history and undoubtedly felt some pressure to continue the family legacy by going into the ministry himself, but he chose not to. In a manner of speaking this young man became the black sheep of the family. He was the first one in four generations not to go into full-time Christian ministry. He decided to pursue his interest in psychology and over the years, met with success. After earning his doctorate, he wrote a book to parents that became a best-seller. He then wrote another and another, all best-sellers. Eventually he started a radio program that is now heard on more than a thousand stations each day. The black sheep's name? James Dobson, without a doubt the most influential and significant leader of the pro-family movement in America. His ministry is the direct result of the prayers of a man who lived four generations ago.
Perhaps the deepest imprints of human faults are made by parents upon their children. Moses told the Israelites that in some cases God visits the iniquity of 'the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations? (Exodus 20:5). And he doesn't have to work to do it. When our sins and failures run their normal course, they harm future generations. Our hang-ups are passed to our children, who in turn pass them to their own. The New Testament says that parents? sins may cause specific problems like angry, resentful behavior or depression (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21).
A comparison of the offspring of two marriages clearly illustrates this. Over four hundred descendants of Jonathan Edwards, America's first great theologian, have been traced. Similarly, over twelve hundred offspring of a criminal named Jukes have been studied. Of the descendants of Jonathan Edwards: one hundred became ministers, missionaries, or theology teachers; one hundred became professors; over one hundred were lawyers and judges; sixty became doctors; and fourteen were college presidents. Among the descendants of Jukes; one hundred and thirty were convicted criminals; three hundred and ten were professional paupers; four hundred were seriously injured or physically degenerated due to their life-styles; sixty were habitual thieves and pickpockets; seventeen were murderers; only twenty ever learned a trade, and half of these learned their trades in jail.
Of 1026 total for Jukes: 300 were sent to prison for an average term of 13 years; 190 were public prostitutes; 680 were admitted alcoholics. His family, thus far, has cost the state in excess of $420,000.00.
Of 929 total for Edwards, 430 ministers, 86 university professors, 13 university presidents, 75 authored books, 5 elected to U.S. Congress, 2 to the Senate, one was vice-president.
In 1677 an immoral man married a licentious woman. Nineteen hundred descendants came from the generations begun by that union. Of these, 771 were criminals, 250 were arrested for various offenses, 60 were thieves, and 39 were convicted of murder. These people spent a combined total of 1300 years behind bars and cost the state of New York nearly $3 million.
The Edwards family represented another union of the same era. The third generation included Jonathan Edwards, the great New England revival preacher and president of Princeton University. Of the 1344 descendants, many were college presidents and professors. One hundred eighty-six became ministers of the gospel. Eighty-six were state senators, three were Congressmen, thirty were judges, and one became Vice President of the United States.