I just recently returned from visiting my family in the Pacific Northwest and also attending the U.S. Open Golf tournament held in my home town of Tacoma, WA. We were able to share some wonderful family experiences which we recorded with hundreds of photos. This one was taken as a four generation memory of my 88 year old father, me, my son, Andrew, and his nearly three year old daughter, Adelyn.
As I was traveling back home scanning through our pictures, I began asking myself, “Why do we take pictures?” The answer I concluded was to preserve and share memories.
Memories are critical to our makeup. God emphasizes this throughout scripture. In Deuteronomy 6, as God’s people, are preparing to enter the Promised Land after a 40 year wandering and training in the desert, he emphasizes how critical their memory is to their faithfulness. He instructs them to keep His word close to them. He says that they should constantly instruct their children about His commands, and that they should bind scripture on their hands, foreheads, and even on their doorposts. He then explains why these reminders are so very essential:
“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you-with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill , and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant-and when you eat and are full, then take care LEST YOU FORGET the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)
In our affluence, we can so quickly forget. Our threat to faithfulness is not when things are bad, but when they are good. I see it all the time.
I interview all the men and their families who are potential residents of our recovery program at His Way. Most express a desperation and a willingness to do anything to get the help that they need. They plead and beg for help at whatever cost necessary. But once they enter the program and get a few days of comfortable beds, warm meals, and safety, many of them begin to complain. They begin complaining about their roommate, or the schedule, or some of the instructors, or the food, or the rules and restrictions. When things get better how quickly they forget.
I have seen the consistent pattern of forgetfulness, leading to grumbling and complaining out of ingratitude, and next thing you know – relapse, a loss of the faith that began their sobriety.
So here is my suggestion for us all, TAKE A PICTURE!!!
Take a picture of where you have been, what God has done for you, and how others have been God’s blessing to you. And do as God suggests in Deuteronomy. Show your pictures and tell the stories over and over again. This is the only way I know for us to maintain our gratitude and in so doing maintain our faithfulness to the One who has delivered us all.
Jesus ended his time on this earth by giving us a picture to assist us in this process.
“And He took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” – Luke 22:19,20
So, let us live in gratitude by constantly and regularly participating in Jesus’ picture of His sacrifice for us through the Lord’s Supper. “Do this in Remembrance of Me!”