April 9, 2017

Truths That Transform: Stones of Remembrance

Remembering the past, and especially recalling what God has done, can provide a great framework for moving into our futures. Scripture is full of occasions where God commanded his people to remember what had gone before.

God gave the Sabbath commandment as a reminder to the people that He was the creator (Exodus 20:8-11). In fact, the 10 commandments were so important for the people to remember that God Himself wrote them on stone tablets, to be kept in a special ark and go with the people as they traveled. In Numbers 15:37-41 God gave the Israelites instructions to put tassels on their garments as a way of remembering His commands and His deliverance.

In Joshua 4:1-9, God commanded Joshua to have a leader from each of the tribes of Israel take a stone from the middle of the Jordan and place it up on shore, to commemorate His deliverance of the people and bringing them into the Promised Land. He told them, “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” These stones were to be a lasting remembrance for generations to come.

God gave to the Israelites the feast of Passover as a reminder of His deliverance from Egypt, and Jesus gave us the rite of communion as a reminder of His body and blood, given for us. Over and over again, Scripture tells us to remember what God has done.

We celebrate many remembrances throughout our lives – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. But sometimes we can benefit from reminders of specific things that God has done for us. What has God done for you in the past year that you want to remember, and to be able to recount to others? Did he provide a new job for you, enabling you to honor him with work and also to provide for yourself and others? Did he bring you to a financial milestone, like maybe retiring debt?

My wife and I were part of the founding of a regional satellite of Willow Creek church. In the early days, our leadership (recognizing the importance of these remembrances) occasionally gave out different items of remembrance – a foam “brick” that reminded us that we all had a part of building God’s house; a key to help us remember all the “doors” in our city that represented families far from God; and several other items. Trinkets, really, but I kept all of them and have them in a box that sits on a shelf in my office.

Last year, God moved through a series of events to pull off something I would have thought impossible – a move to a different state while retaining my job (including the renovation and sale of our house and a number of other events). This year, through his financial provision, we are finally debt-free after 26 years of marriage. I’m still trying to figure out how best to memorialize these two momentous occasions for us.

How about you? What will you do to remember – and to recount – what God has done in your life, in stewardship or in other areas? These things become part of your testimony to his grace and provision, and they can make a great difference in your witness for Him as you recall them and give Him glory.