We love to tell our stories, don’t we? Stories teach. They warn, encourage, enlighten, and entertain. Our stories reveal who we are and what we love. Stories connect us. When I take the time to listen to a conversation, a face becomes a person, an act finds a context. Communities and nations unify around shared stories that shape understanding of identity. Why is Facebook so popular? Because it is a forum where everyone can tell a story- with a few words, in pictures. Everybody has a story, but is your story memorable?
What will your friends, your children; yes, even your grandchildren, remember about you?
What stories will they tell about you?
Will the things they remember inspire them to achieve, to live well?
I am inspired by the stories of my parents and grandparents. Were they perfect people? Not at all. They did not lead armies, build great companies, or write bestsellers! They were ordinary people who worked hard, built families, knew some successes and some losses; and loved the Lord, one another, and all of us – through it all. My paternal grandfather was a poor immigrant who found his way to the farm country of America where he became a prosperous man, found Christ as Savior, and planted the seeds that still bear fruit! When my wife stepped into eternity a few months ago and the last chapter of her earthly life was written, and yet I still hear stories from so many that she loved and served. Her life, while unremarkable in terms of human history, is a story with consequence.
Yesterday cannot be relived. But, when we write memorable stories they become a foundation of hope, a reason to reach higher.
Joshua, while leading God’s people into the Land of Promise, created memorials. As you read this passage, note why. “When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight … to serve as a sign among you. 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. … These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:1-7, NIV)
One of our core practices as Christians is the Lord’s Supper, Communion. Jesus told us to gather and to take the Cup and Bread. “Do this in remembrance of me,” He said. “What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.” (1 Corinthians 11:26, The Message) In telling the story of the Cross, we are brought back to the grace and love of God, to the sacrifice that reconciles us, to the assurance of a Covenant that is written in blood! And the story shapes us.
So, on this Monday morning, give some thought to the story you are writing. Perhaps you just headed off to another day at the office, in the classroom, or in the shop without much thought. It’s just another day, you think- “another day, another dollar,” as we say. May I encourage you to take a longer view? It is another paragraph in a story that will be told by those who follow after you. So, make it memorable.
Here is a word from the Word. “I beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. … Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children, … For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! … So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 4:1-4, 5:1,8, 15-16, NLT)
I dreamed I went to Heaven
You were there with me
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name
You turned and saw this young man
He was smiling as he came
And he said friend
You may not know me now
Then he said but wait
You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight
And ev’ry week you would say a pray’r
Before the class would start
And one day when you said that pray’r
I asked Jesus in my heart
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave
Then another man stood before you
He said remember the time
A missionary came to your church
His pictures made you cry
You didn’t have much money
But you gave it anyway
Jesus took the gift you gave
That’s why I’m here today
One by one they came
Far as the eye could see
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity
Little things that you had done
Unnoticed on the earth
In Heaven now proclaimed
I know up in Heaven
You’re not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes
As Jesus took your hand
You stood before the Lord
He said My child look around you
For great is your reward
Ray Boltz © 1988 Gaither Music Company (Admin. by Gaither Copyright Management)
CCLI License # 810055
Jerry D. Scott, Pastor
Faith Discovery Church
Washington, NJ 07882