Remember: Part 4

I used to think dramatic stories of God’s faithfulness were for other more holy people;
Now I know He uses His most glorious even for the mundane.

I barely skated by on God’s allocation and provision of an engagement ring.

Now that I had, I thought I could relax. So I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Weddings are the bride’s family’s responsibility, so my financial contribution was over.

And good thing. Because I had nothing financial to contribute.

Which is precisely why I suppose my heart nearly stopped when I discovered who was responsible for the honeymoon.

Having been raised in a home without a father, this small but enormous factor is something that I have to assume I would have been taught had I had a dad around. But I didn’t. And so that old familiar panic returned.

But as I had done so many times before, I prayed.

And I remembered.

The psalmist tells his readers repeatedly throughout Israel’s songbook: “Remember.”

His insistence that we remember is not only for God’s glory, but also for our encouragement. There are times when the bumps in the road seem far too large and loom far too burdensome. We become so battle-scarred and road-weary that without the intentional command to remember the companionship of memory that would serve to soothe us never comes to mind. When we remember, it’s like the comfort of an old familiar friend pours in all around us. It swallows us up and envelopes all we contain –our weariness and our doubts. All are immersed in a flood of sanctified memory.

“Tommy, you’re up for a company-wide corporate award.”

I laughed, not realizing what this meant. I pictured a silly certificate I would set aside somewhere like an old birthday card, too thoughtful to throw away but useless nonetheless.

“No, seriously. The prize is a trip for two to anywhere of your choice.”

I blinked.

And then, I won.

_____________________________________________________

There is a lot of popular self-help available to the Christian community. Sold in churches, endorsed by Christians, preached by pastors.

And if I am honest with you, I have always found this troubling.

It is good I suppose to have a way out of debt should you find yourself in it. But I have seen far too many Christians forget that this approach is a tool- a helpful thing, not an ultimate thing.

We can become so focused on stockpiling our nest eggs that we forfeit the mission.

We can become so invigorated by financial freedom and the comfort it brings that we end up with no need of a Comforter.

Jesus prophesied the arrival of a Comforter. The majority of American Christians, however, cite that they have never experienced Him.

And it’s no wonder. What need do we have of a Comforter when our lives are already so comfortable?

We spend a lot of time and energy effectively boxing Him out of our lives, to where we don’t need Him to come through for us. We’ve got it all figured out. We stockpile our own savings and retirements and follow all the popular self-help.

Being self reliant isn’t a bad thing. But in the same way Greek tragedies have tragic heroes who possess a tragic flaw (the overabundance of some good quality that becomes the character’s central downfall), good stewardship, a good thing, can become over-accentuated, leading to self-reliance, which is contrary to the Gospel.

Jesus came because we couldn’t do it on our own. We’ve been called to live reckless lives in the proclamation of that message.

When we live for the storehouses, though…

The words of our Father in Jesus’ story about the rich man come to mind:

YOU FOOL.

(Luke 12:20)

“This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared?”

If we are running towards a finish line, which is the metaphor the authors of the New Testament seem to most prefer, if our lives are headed somewhere and we are going to cross the Jordan one day and stand before our Maker,

what good will that financial plan have been?

My experience has been that if you run the race, “with your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith,

He will take care of the rest.

(Hebrews 12:1-2).

When you seek first His Kingdom, the rest will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

 

Can you have a plan?

Of course.

 

But I prefer the vision of our lives that Jesus painted. Where we are running full speed with the end in mind, where we take no stock or inventory of what we own, but instead live with urgency and intention and trust Him to fill in the gap.

Managing my own stuff has always left me stressed out, anxious, and scared. Chained to a master. And I can’t run freely if I am chained to a master.

And He knew this:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

 

In remembering:

-this story about the honeymoon

-the story about Hannah and the ring

-the story about the guitar

-the story about Seminary

-and countless others-

 

I find courage to keep my eyes on Him and let Him take care of the rest.

He always has before.

And He always will.

 

This isn’t the safe, rational, organized, buttoned-down version of financial freedom taught by a lot of churches today. And I get that. And I’m okay with it.

But we proclaim a Messiah who was homeless. Who was anything but safe, rational, organized, and buttoned-down.

He promised the coming of a Comforter. The times I have experienced the presence of this Comforter most poignantly in my life have been the times when I was most uncomfortable.

Remembering reminds me of that.

1Comment
  • Allen Armstrong
    Posted at 08:27h, 01 November Reply

    Love it Tommy!!

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