#28 Being remembered
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts. [Psalm 103:15-18]
Upon reading the Bible today I reflected upon something. There are very few people remembered. I was reading through the book of Acts - especially the later chapters - where Paul is standing before leaders of great cities making his defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And none of these historical people are known by me. If they have made an important contribution to our history, I do not recognize it. At their time they were exceptionally important - but now....we do not even remember their names.
Very few people leave significant earthly impact after they die. And even if they, in actuality, do leave significant earthly impact - most will not be recognized by the common man for leaving it. We may look back at the Romans and say, "some of what they established we still use today! My goodness, that is impressive!" But even when we say that I do not believe that we have in our minds any particular historical Roman person.
The fact is very simple - when we die, outside of perhaps those that knew us and loved us best - we are forgotten. And within a generation of our death we are almost always forgotten entirely. For example, I absolutely loved my father. Actually, since he is in glory awaiting the glorious resurrection and is sentient, awake, and worshipping the Lord...perhaps it is better said that I love my father [present tense]. Yet, he is dead. My oldest daughter, Olivia, knew my father even before he got Alzheimers. Yet, though my father had tremendous impact upon me - she will not see that. I can tell her. She can experience what my father taught me through me - but my dad will most likely not be an important historical figure in my daughter's life. She did not get enough time with him to really, "know" him. So, when me, my brother, and my sister-in-Law die - he too will be mostly forgotten. All that might remain are pictures in albums.
Adding to this thought, I have been privileged to officiate over certain military retirements as the acting chaplain for their ceremony. I have done this four times. Each of these four retirement ceremonies were, I would say, some of the best that any human person can expect. No, they were not presidential, yet they were high ranking military personnel. One was on a Navy vessel. There were speeches given. There were gifts presented. There was a reception immediately following. And then we all went home. In all four cases the next day someone else was doing their job. Chances are, right now, the work they were doing continues under the guidance of someone else...and they have mostly been forgotten.
Now, why do I bring this all up? I will tell you :) It is not to depress us - it is to remind us of what is most important. You see, according to Psalm 103 the life of mortals is like a flower - we bloom, the wind blows, and then we die. And we are not remembered. But the Lord remembers the righteous. The Lord never forgets.
One of the most touching moments in the Gospels is Jesus' encounter with one of the thieves on the cross. The one thief rebuked and reviled Christ. The other rebuked the 1st thief and looked at the Lord and simply said, "Jesus...remember me when you come into your kingdom..." And it was at this point that Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in paradise."
God remembering me. This brings me amazing comfort. I can be forgotten by family, friends, and all my work can be lost. But the Lord will remember me. The Lord cares so intimately for you and me that He has done more than throw a passing party for us - He has died for us. He has risen again for us to purchase for us an eternal future with Him. He remembers.
So be encouraged - your faith in the Lord is not in vain. He remembers. He always remembers. Amen.