Elements of Vision (Part 9)
The Power of Remembrance
If we are to be men and women of VISION, we must be men and women of REMEMBRANCE.
In the well-loved book, “Leaves of Gold,” we are encouraged to:
The value of time.
The success of perseverance.
The pleasure of working.
The dignity of simplicity.
The worth of character.
The power of kindness.
The influence of example.
The obligation of duty.
The wisdom of economy.
The virtue of patience.
The improvement of talent.
The joy of originating.
The full list of things we should remember would be a scroll never-ending: containing both positive and negative things. For only those who remember yesterday, and learn from it, are ready to embrace tomorrow, and achieve its highest potential. When the investigation team went to Jonestown in Guyana, where the terrible mass suicide took place, there was an eerie silence that hung over the cultish community. The only thing that could be heard was the sound of a board at the entrance of the camp clattering against a pole. On the board was a quote of philosopher, Santayana:
“They that forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Quite possibly that’s why Jesus urged His disciples to “Remember Lot’s wife.” Ironically, the Teacher was telling them to ‘look back’ to a woman in the Bible who got in serious trouble by ‘looking back.’ So the heart motive is what determines the results of ‘remembering.’ Possibly she looked back with a longing in her heart for the previous involvement she had in that evil society. The disciples were exhorted to look back at this incident to avoid making the same kind of mistake. To build toward a brighter tomorrow, we must successfully analyze the darkness of the past.
The children of Israel suffered the consequences of yielding to unbelief at the edge of the Promised Land. They reluctantly had to retreat to the wilderness for another four decades. But God assessed the value of this delay. He informed what would result from this temporary setback:
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
Part of remembering the journey through the wilderness of Sin surely included the remembrance of God’s kindness and supernatural provision. So not only did God prove their hearts, the children of Abraham proved God’s faithfulness and continued covenant commitment to them. And so it works for us. One of the most edifying, strengthening memories for any believer is the recalling of God’s constancy in times of personal disappointment or failure. We also need to “remember” the way God has faithfully and mercifully moved in the lives of others, used them in His plan, and promoted them in His Kingdom—then expect a similar pattern in our
own lives. The God of former great revivals still lives. The God who raised up Peter, James and John and modern leaders like Finney and Wesley is still in the business of raising others up. He hasn’t changed. Hebrews 13:7-8 (NIV) says it well:
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
We should never forget the good things that God has done in our behalf. We should rehearse often. Thankfulness will then fill our lives like a sweet aroma. As Jesus passed the cup and the bread at the last supper, He urged His followers,
“Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
The Lord knew that we, as human beings, need constant reminders of what He has already accomplished in our behalf, in order to face the future with faith and confidence, expecting His promises to yet be fulfilled. So today, take some time to remember—and then, look into the future with the renewed energy of a true visionary.