remembering what we forget
I’m a forgetter. I forget my sunglasses. I forget my cellphone. I’ve forgotten and lost more black cardigans than I can count. Three cheers for my friends who always have a backup in their little bag of tricks in case someone needs a pen, or an Advil, or a tissue. Rhett Butler’s words in Gone with the Wind could have been said about me: “Take my handkerchief, Scarlett. Never, at any crisis of your life, have I known you to have a handkerchief.” Me neither.
Losing a pair of sunglasses or a black sweater is one thing, but how sad to lose something priceless or irreplaceable. Some things we are entrusted with should be guarded and treasured!
Can you imagine having something valuable in your possession, something priceless—and being careless with it? Well before you shake your head and say “tsk, tsk” think about this. The Children of Israel (and we too) were given a treasure beyond compare. Romans 3:2 tells us that we have been entrusted with the oracles of God. The Bible.
Paul affirms this great advantage in his letter, but did they treasure God’s Word as it deserved? Do we? Think about it. The original stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mount Horeb were carefully placed in the Ark of the Covenant to be carried through the wilderness. When the people settled in Canaan, the ark was kept in the holiest place within Solomon’s Temple, where it stayed for many years. Then whoosh, it was gone. Where? When? Nobody knows. How did it happen? Slowly, gradually, over time, I imagine.
The apostasy of God’s people in Judah was so complete that the very Word of God was concealed under rubbish in the Temple storehouse, forgotten and neglected. It seems the priests and people didn’t even miss it!
What about us? Look around and see how many dry and empty churches there are. Too many preoccupied Christians who skip worship on Sunday, week after week, because you know…life is busy. Worship gets crowded out by sports and weekend getaways or just the choice to make it a lazy Sunday to sleep in or do a little shopping. Then whoosh, months go by without reading or giving much thought to God’s Word. How many of us allow the things we have control over to take precedence over the Word of the Living God?
Years ago, I wore my grandmother’s vintage pearl and diamond ring to a party. It was a bit large for my finger so I took it off and tucked it into the zippered pouch in my purse. There it stayed for days, weeks, months…I forgot all about it. Then one day, I was filling a box with items that I was going to donate. For some reason I decided to check through the contents one more time and what do you think I found? There, zipped inside the pouch of an old purse, was my grandmother’s priceless ring!
What is the point I’m making here? Neglect. Apathy.
Taking what is precious for granted can lead to immeasurable loss.
We’re a privileged bunch, aren’t we?
How do I know?
Well, you’re reading this. Which means you know how to read.
You most likely have a computer. You also have an internet connection.
You have access to Bibles galore.
You live in a great country that guaranteed religious freedoms.
You have access to great Bible teaching.
Dear friends, this is not about putting ourselves on a guilt trip. The purpose of taking time to recognize how fortunate we are is an exercise in mindfulness, thankfulness, and a strong warning. It takes intentional effort to look beyond our own experience to acknowledge that these privileges we take for granted are not available everywhere in the world. The advantages we have are all too easy to overlook. Let’s treasure them!
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
Hebrews 2:1-3a (ESV)