Deuteronomy 8 – 10 Luke 4:1-30
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands”.
Memory is a wonderful gift. I am realizing that more and more as I get older. There was a day when I didn’t need a calendar to keep track of my schedule. Now–where did I put my calender?
This day finds me in Livingston, Texas. We have been tending to my ailing father-law. Pneumonia at age 97 tends to be life threatening. At the beginning of the week we had moments when we wondered if he was close to the end of his life. In a remarkable way, God has turned things around. Excellent medical care has enhanced the whole process.
Bob Bird is one of those rare self-made men. Always an eager learner, his education ended after grade six. The pressures of helping his family make a living cut him off from his desire for a formal education. What could have been the beginning of a downward spiral in his life became quite the opposite. He found work wherever he could. His way of coping with poverty was his determined belief in creating a better future. It is safe to say that Bob’s journey from there to here has been fraught with “many dangers, toils, and snares.”
Bob has never forgotten his roots. Throughout this week there have been frequent reminders from him regarding his spiritual journey which began at age 19. He shares with any who will listen, his hunger to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Walking home from church one Sunday, he pointed to a tree in the distance. He cried out, “Lord, when I get to that tree, I want to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” As he relates the story, his voice breaks and you sense that you are with him that moment as he kneels, lifts his hands, and begins to speak in a heavenly language. He readily gives God praise for it all.
Some of what he remembers about me, however, I have tried to forget. But as long as he lives, I’ll get reminded. His memory is a real gift to him and to his entire family.
In this final address of Moses, he makes clear the need to remember their journey through the wilderness. He recalls the provision of water from a rock. Don’t forget that when you were hungry God provided quail. Don’t forget that it has not been your superior works that wins the Promise land for you. It has been God’s Grace on a nation of stiff necked people.
It was not until after Christ’s crucifixion that his disciples remembered many of His words. Frequently, He had reminded his follower’s that the “shepherd would be smitten and the sheep would be scattered”
The Apostle Paul keeps us reminded throughout his writings that his spiritual life began on the Damascus Road. He began his ministry reminding us that he was the least of the apostles. He ended his ministry reminding himself and us that he was “least of the saints.” His memory never let him forget who he was.
This holy season in the church gives ample reason to remember. I recall the days of Good Friday services when we took time to remember His life and His death. We sang hymns like, “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” and “Near the Cross.” I recall the excitement of preparing sunrise services on Easter, bringing the family of God together to celebrate the resurrection. We sang, “I serve a risen savior, he’s in the world today…” We did all of this in order to keep fresh in our minds God’s rich gifts to us.
Our memories permit us to reminisce about days gone by. Our memory reminds us not to forget that every good gift we possess comes from His hand.
When we take communion, we are remembering the price Christ paid for us. He said, “As often as you do this, remember me.”
If you are a Christian, I challenge you to take some time during this lenten season to remember the moment when Jesus Christ changed your life and how has He provided for you since.