Celebration as we remember events and blessings is a part of life that we too often neglect. Prior to my one breath from death experience in 2005, I tended to walk over celebration times in my haste to keep going toward a bigger goal. What happens, as I found, is we arrive at a point which we have marked as a goal for ourselves, our family, our business, or even our church and we lose something important when we neglect to reflect and to celebrate. We think we are doing ourselves a favor by just passing over the reason to celebrate, but the more we lessen the importance of the mark, the more our mind tends to lessen the importance of new goals set.
God gives us a number of examples in the Bible where He makes the point of making sure His people didn’t forget to remember and celebrate. In the book of Exodus, God established the Passover celebration so the people would not forget their past nor His great deliverance from slavery.
Deuteronomy 16:1 (ESV) “Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.
As they entered the promise land, God instructed them to erect 12 stones from the Jordon River so they could remember how God had taken them through the wilderness and brought them into the land of promise.
Joshua 4:4-7 (ESV) 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
Of course, the one thing the Bible is clear on making sure we don’t forget is the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper are the words, “do this in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV) 23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Pausing to remember in your pursuit to go forward is important. It’s important to remind yourself what God has done in the past, so you’ll be encouraged as you face the future.
It’s that time of year when Jan and I really reflect on things that happened to us in Denver 2005, when I was sick and getting closer by the day to death and finally my life was saved as I took my last breath on April 6, 2005. Wow! It was 14 years this past Saturday. My current doctor likes to point out that with the disease I have I should be dead, that my lung function should be decreasing. I am thankful that, despite my lung function at 75% of a normal person, I am still able to exercise and even compete. God has been gracious to me as I marked 14 years. I was one breath from death but look what God can do! (The story is on the website and the full story in book form is available in the publications page on the website.)
Psalm 111:4 (ESV) — 4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
I am sure He’s been good to you too, as well as to your family, to your business, to your church – so take time to mark it and celebrate lest you forget to remember.