I recently received an e-mail from someone in the community that worked with us at the free breakfast / clothing swap this past Saturday at the elementary school. This is part of the e-mail…. “Hi Pastor Brian, I love your church community! You guys are truly amazing!! I love how everyone works so well together!”
As I read this e-mail I was reminded that we are making memories for people whether we are aware of it or not. As we enter Memorial Day weekend we will be remembering those who have walked before us and created memories for us. Yet we must not forget that we are also creating memories for those that follow us.
So the question that needs to be asked is not “Am I making memories?” The question that we need to ask is “What kind of memories am I making for those people that enter my world?” And yet we cannot forget, as we are creating memories for people, we are also creating memories for God Himself.
When God thought of Job He said, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8. When God’s thoughts turned to Noah, God remembered that “Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Genesis 6:8-9. Many of us already know the memories God had of King David: “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Acts 13:22
These men made memories for God that we are still talking about today! Bible scholar James Moffatt wrote: “Death is never the last word in the life of a man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessings.”
Over my 35+ years of ministry I have performed many funerals and I still am amazed at what kind of memories people leave behind. I remember attending the funeral of Jack Wyrtzen and listening to his children and grandchildren share how Jack’s prayer life impacted their life. I remember being at my father’s funeral and seeing unsaved people there because of the Godly life that my dad had lived before them.
And then I have been to funerals where the memories that were shared were memories of “stuff” that the person attained, or parties that they attended. I have watched as “blended” families fight over what is left behind. I have sat in homes asking for memories to share at the funeral only to watch people struggle and then hear things like: “ Well, he liked the Red Sox,” “She loved to work in the garden,” “They loved their cat or dog,” or I just listen as they talk about a prized motorcycle or vintage car.
The fact is that every day we live – every day that we are in someone’s life – we are making new memories. As James Moffatt said, they can be memories that encourage and bring a smile or they can be memories that are painful and want to be forgotten. But the fact is, it is impossible to be in someone’s life and not make memories for them in one way or another.
Our spouses and children are profoundly affected by our choices. Our co-workers or neighbors and our friends will be impacted by the life we live. As the world tries to pull others into its mold, as it tries to pull our families into living by its standard, we need to step up and make Godly memories. Memories of bringing light into the darkness that surrounds so many of us.
Jesus said we are to be that light: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Our lives need to stand in stark contrast to the world, the memories we are making need to be as an example of a righteous person. Our lives should be lived in such a way that people would be drawn – not to us – but to God. Lived in such a way that people would be convinced there is much wisdom in following Christ. None of us should underestimate the effect a righteous life will have on our families and those people that God brings into our life.
But we must also remember that we cannot underestimate the effects of a godless, unrighteous life will have on our families and those people that God brings into our life either. An effect by the way that could even determine someone’s eternal destiny.
John MacArthur said, “The character of your life will determine the legacy you leave to others.” As we come up to Memorial Day and remember those that have walked before us, those like Noah, Job and King David, may we take time to consider what kind of memories we are leaving to those who follow us.
The Bible says that “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. He was even called the friend of God.” James 2:23 If you and I choose to make good memories for God, if we work on our friendship with God then we will not have to worry about the memories we are making for others, because those memories will take care of themselves.
Have a wonderful weekend, not only remembering but creating new memories to remember!