Stones Of Remembrance
What’s the connection between Anniversary and Mission? What do the following terms have in common:
The point in each of them is remembrance. And remembrance is one of God’s many teaching tools! (If you’d rather LISTEN to this than read it, go HERE)
When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt they were told to commemorate the event in all their generations. How were they to do it? God decreed the Passover Meal. The symbolism in the meal was a way to remember (and recite) the mighty acts of God on behalf of people who could not help themselves.
On the night before Christ died, He told His disciples, As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, do it in remembrance of Me. God’s prescription for sinful people has not changed. We were helpless to do anything about our own sin. Like the Israelites, we cannot help ourselves. But Jesus became the Sacrifice for our sins so we could be adopted as sons of God and have the right to cry out: Abba, Father! He did it all and we need to rememer that.
We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. I was out of the country with a mission team. When I got to the mission house and opened my suitcase, I found a note and a card inside. The note read: Do not open until the 15th (our anniversary). And when I called home a little while later, I told my bride that those TSA people were doing even more unusual stuff these days; putting notes and cards in suitcases. We laughed. And then on the 15th, per my arrangements, a local florist delivered a big bouquet of roses to my wife at her office. A wedding anniversary is a time to:
Why do all that? In God’s design, remembering gives us perspective. We are reminded of His blessings, His work, and our need of Him. Celebrating an anniversary reminds us of all that has gone before.
We have had challenges in ministry, parenting, and life in general. God has provided, guided, and given grace in all of it. And that reminds me of the stones from the river Jordan. When God parted the waters and they crossed into the Promised Land on dry ground, He told them to gather 12 smooth stones for a memorial. They got instructions about the memorial:
When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’
They were to gather stones from a specific place: the middle of the river. And these weren’t little skpping stones. They were more on the order of boulders. The stones were smooth – proving they had been in the river. They were formed into a pillar beside the river. And they stood as visible evidence of God’s mighty work in parting the Jordan river. Men could not have carried them from the riverbed unless the water had been stopped. And equally convincing evidence of many things exists all around us, if we will take the time to see it.
Recalling – Instruction And Blessing
Now, I didn’t cross the Jordan River into Canaan. But we have our own stones of remembrance. And you have your own whether or not you’ve ever thought about them in this context.
Reflecting can remind of us of positive things as well as the negative. On the negative side, I think of some Nabal moments. That may surprise you. And you can read about Nabal in I Samuel 25. The word Nabal name means Fool. He did not act wisely. However, he was blessed with a wife named Abigail. She demonstrated grace and wisdom. I’ve had my Nabal moments and I have been helped greatly by a wise, loving wife. Fortunately, my errors didn’t end in my demise. But Nabal’s did!
And that line of thinking brings a well-known Proverb to mind. Proverbs 31 includes this verse:
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Part of my bride’s beauty is she thinks that Proverb doesn’t describe her. But I know it does!
We don’t often get to celebrate our anniversary in our home state of Texas. But we did get to do that about five years ago. We were there long enough to attend worship in the church where we were married. And God was teaching me in dramatic fashion. I felt like I was trying to drink from a fire hose! But I’ll save that for another post.
Being in that church at that time brought a flood of memories to mind. They all started when we stood at the front and said, I do. And the river of memories included times of caring for her, protecting her, and providing for her. Sounds a bit like Boaz and Ruth, doesn’t it? And looking back you know you’d do it all again, even though you made your own share of mistakes. But that just means grace and forgiveness are also blessings to remember!
Your Stones Of Remembrance
So, what are you remembering? Are your memories helping you or holding you back? Your life’s mission will be helped if you remember:
- To count your blessings – it really will surprise you what God has done
- Who blessed you
- To say Thank You – and do it often
- His hand of guidance, rescue, and provision and all the ways He was at work when you didn’t see it.
- To find your stones of remembrance – recite God’s work, and Word, often
And you can do all of that with a stone of remembrance similar to one of mine – it’s on the third finger of my left hand!
Soli Deo Gloria!
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EquipUs resources from Keith Burnett Ministries also serve as Stones of Remembrance!
Advance NEWS: The podcast link at the beginning of this post is linked to our church website. I’ve set that up with multiple purposes in mind. ONE purpose was the ‘learning curve’ to set up a podcast here – you’ll see it very soon. Now you know!
[original post was published 6/15/2015 – expanded and updated 8/3/2021]