Last week I mentioned that I'm a Scrooge when it comes to Halloween. Why? Because we've forgotten the true holiday (holy-day) All Saints Day on November 1. This day is a day of remembering. It's a day of gratitude for faith-filled godly people who've served the Lord or have in some way influenced the lives of many people. A church in Canton, Ohio has pictures set up in gallery-style of all the pastors who served that church in their history of existence. This gallery is quite elegant with framed paintings rather than stuffy, old yellowed snapshots. What a beautiful tribute to these pastor's ministries with that congregation! Memorial plaques of godly people who've gone on to eternity with God are another way of remembering. But eventually, they are forgotten because no one knows who these people are anymore. Why, then, do we celebrate the night before All Saint's Day with the focus on cute kids with costumes & candy, death, gruesomeness, and evil?
I'd like to take you to some Scripture passages with a great way gratitude is shown to godly Greats. Have you noticed some of the most "boring" passages are really remembrances? We always called them the "begats". Genesis 5 is the lineage of Adam. Interesting notes were put with some of the names. Do you have a family tree? Basically, this is the same. Jesus has two lines listed, one of his mother's and one of Joseph's (Matthew 1,Luke 3:23-38) . These family lines are very important to understand the history behind the historic event of Jesus' birth and heritage. What family members influenced your life?
Pictures and photos are great ways to remember people past and present whom we love. The apostle Paul didn't have a camera or an iPhone to snap pictures or selfies with his friends. Instead, he had the pictures in his mind. 1Thessalonians 3:5-7 Paul had good memories of the people at the Thessalonian church. In another passage, he also had fond memories of the people at the church in Philippi in Philippians 1:2-4. It's as if he is looking at pictures of moments with them as he writes. What pictures do you have that remind you of great times with Godly people in your life?
There are events when God did something truly amazing for someone. God told the Israelites to build a memorial of stones so that when they passed by it later, they could tell their children about the amazing miracle of God's protection for them (Deuteronomy 27:3-5). They certainly did what God said to do in Joshua 4:8-10. Keep in mind the stones were from in the middle of the Jordan River during high water levels while the priests stood in there with the Ark of the Covenant! They trusted God would not let them drown while they did what He told them. But they hurried. I think I would have, too! What amazing things has God done in your life or your family history that has influenced your faith?
Another way to remember God's greats is to visit them. When I was at the senior living center where my mom lives to help her, we talked about a couple of people there who live in tiny studio apartments that are like living in a motel room. Their rent has financial assistance based on income.One of the staff members shared with me there are some of the residents who don't have family visit them. Depression strikes people who feel forgotten or unwanted. John the Baptist sat in prison knowing he was about to die. He began to question if Jesus was the One, so he sent some of his followers to ask Jesus this question, "Are you the One?" in Matthew 11:1-19 Jesus did a spectacular job sharing who John was. He sent word back that yes, He is the One God sent. Do you take the time to visit Godly people who are either in the hospital, senior community, or prison, sharing great memories with them?
I believe we have missed the mark by focusing our time, energy, and resources on the wrong thing. Let us focus what is of Kingdom importance.
May God bless you.