"Memories and Opportunities"
This past weekend, Frances and I rejoiced with our dear friends the Wheeler family during the wedding festivities of their daughter Brittany (a.k.a. - Supergirl) and her new husband Bembe. We met the Wheelers through these devotionals, and communicated by email for nearly 15 years before meeting face to face in 2014. We consider our fellowship and friendship with them one of the great blessings of our lives, and the weekend provided opportunity to meet many other family members and friends through whom we were also immeasurably blessed.
After we returned home, I sent a thank you email to Bryan and Peggy for the time, effort, and expense they expended to make the weekend so wonderful for everyone involved. Included in the note was this line: "So thanks again, and know that you made special memories for all of us, and special opportunities to thank the Lord over and over again." This was absolutely the case, and reminds me of a truth I've often shared in these messages, namely, that blessed recollections can become far more than memories. They also serve as altars for praise and thanksgiving of the God from Whom "every good gift and every perfect gift" flows to us (James 1:17). Regardless of the conduit or vessel through which blessings come to us, our Lord always serves as the Source. How He must love us to be so continually generous and gracious as He gives and gives and gives again. How much He does love us! And how much opportunity our memories provide to praise and thank Him!
More than memories. When we exercise the blessed gift of our capacity for gratitude, we discover what A.W. Tozer meant when he wrote, "Thanksgiving is the sweetener of the soul." Merely recalling blessings leaves the experience incomplete. We should press on to consciously and decisively say "Thank You" to the Giver of "life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). This can involve gifts just given and received, or bestowals of grace from years or even decades past. Solomon declared that "the prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8). Surely our offerings of thanksgiving must especially bless the Heart so worthy of being blessed. And surely such offerings bless our own hearts with a sweetness that graces and enhances our walk with God and with people.
The atmosphere of heart fostered by such Christ-inspired gratitude excludes bitterness and despair. Indeed, when we recall that every good and perfect gift provided by our Heavenly Father comes to us through the price of His Son's precious Blood, the soul-sweetening response of gratitude ensues. God's good and undeserved gifts transform recollections into something far more than memories. This past weekend with the Wheelers, along with their family and friends, certainly provided such opportunity. As I remember the moments of God's good grace bestowed one after another, I will seek to do more, far more, than simply remember…
"Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks: for that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare."
Weekly Memory Verse
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.