Have you ever had those things in your life that you really want to remember? You know, it’s like those happy feelings that you never want to forget. Some of us might have more memories we want to remember than others, but we all have them.
How about those things you don’t want to remember. Have you ever had something happen to you, or something that you have done that has made you not want to remember those things? We all have these too. Again, there may be some of us that have more bad memories that we want to forget than others.
I was tidying up some things at work doing some needed cleaning in order to try and make the office look a little nicer if we had customers come in with any technical problems. I came across this box of computer memory. It wasn’t labelled. No identifying marks on the outside of the box said, “This is a box of RAM.” It was just chillin’ out in a box on a shelf waiting to be used. As I was looking in the box of memory I got to thinking don’t we do that. We package our memory in boxes.
Some of our boxes say:
“Keep for later. These were good memories.”
“Keep these hidden. No one should ever see these.”
Why do we keep our memories? We don’t discard our memories because they define us. The actions from our memories have made us who we are today—for better or worse. Sometimes we hold on to our bad memories to remind ourselves of where we have been as to not go back. Or perhaps, we hold onto our bad memories to remind ourselves of how unworthy we are of any good thing. If anything good happens to us we go into our closets, dig around for a while, and pull out our successfully hidden memory box to show others I don’t deserve this because….and give some explanation as to why we don’t deserve any good thing.
I want to tell you something. If it were up to us, we wouldn’t deserve any good thing, but we have an advocate with the father. It is our standing with Jesus that gives us the opportunity to gain the best. Matthew 19 speaks of a rich person who came to Jesus to ask, “What good can I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus turns to him and says “Why do you speak to me about what is good? There is only one who is good. But, if you want to enter into life then keep the commandments.”
The story goes on to explain that for the man to be perfect he should give up all he has to follow after Jesus. The story ends with the man going away very sad. He wanted to gain eternal life by some other means. Some easy means. He was prepared to do some good work, but he was not prepared to turn over a totally surrendered life to Jesus. The rich man didn’t find following Jesus to be an easy decision. In fact, he went away very disappointed.
Some have taken these set of verses to say that God has called us to be poor; to literally give everything and follow him. In fact, what is really being said here is that we must be willing to give all in order to follow him. By giving everything, Jesus gives us everything in return. We might give up our old mindset and our old way of doing things, but we don’t have to give up our occupation that may have made us successful in the first place. Jesus gives us a new lease on life to look at our occupation as a mission for him and for his kingdom. If we turn over everything for Jesus who is to say that he won’t allow us to use what we once had for the glory of God.
If following Jesus was a simple as following a set of rules; then, living for him wouldn’t seem so hard. We would know to follow this rule, or these rules, and then everything would be okay. We are not bound by the law anymore. James puts it plainly that if we live by the whole law and fail to keep only one part of it, then, we are guilty of the whole thing. Paul wrote in Ephesians that we are saved by grace through faith which is not of our own doing; it was the gift of God. God’s grace is his unmerited favor toward us. That means that we do not deserve his love and yet he gave it anyway. He loved us even though he knew what we had done. Paul wrote to the Romans something similar. He said that, “While we were yet sinners Christ’s died for us.” Paul goes on to say that even when we were considered to be enemies of God we were reconciled to God through the sacrifice of his son. How much more, since we have been reconciled, will be saved by his life?
Because we have been reconciled to God through Jesus that means that we no longer have to be ashamed of what we have done as long as we have accepted the commission to lay down everything and follow him. You don’t have to worry that God will call you to lay something down that you have worked so hard to build. He will do that for sure, but he will give you something better. He will give you a new lease on your calling to do more than you could possibly imagine. He will even allow you to use your gain (Whatever your gain looks like.) to win others for the kingdom of heaven.
Let me end with a verse for you to think about. If you have some memories that are holding you back from leading the best life that God has for you; then, turn them over to Jesus.
Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”