The concept of memorial is found all through scripture. God enacted regular feasts to cause us to remember. When Jesus instituted communion during a Passover meal He said, as oft as you partake of the bread and this cup, to do this in remembrance of me.
What were we to remember? His sacrifice for us!
We find this concept extending through scripture to apply to virtually unknown people to. For example, in Matthew 26:6-13 we find a woman who poured a very expensive jar of alabaster upon Jesus head. According to commentaries this equated to about a years worth of wages. The disciples saw her sacrifice as wasteful and they were indignant. But Jesus acknowledged her sacrifice and says in verse 13 "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.
What are we to remember? Her great sacrifice obviously motivated by her great love for Jesus Christ, the Savior of her soul.
In Acts 10:1-8 we find that the place where God chose to introduce salvation to the Gentiles was determined by the actions of Cornelius, a Centurion. Acts 10:4 declares why?
And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”
So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
It was the Centurion's actions, his prayers and his giving of alms that came up before God's throne in heaven as a memorial. His actions, his choices, his decisions, his stewardship of his time and resources reflected a heart of love for God. Because of that, God remembered him and choose him as the place where Christ's gift of eternal life and this gospel of the kingdom would be introduced to the Gentiles.
Memorial = Remember the Sacrifice
In each example above, the memorial, the remembrance is associated with a sacrifice.
So on this Memorial Day, as a Navy veteran, I remember my brothers and sisters in arms who gave it their all. I am grateful for their sacrifice and service unto my nation. Greater love has no one than this but that a man should lay down their life for a friend.
This particular Memorial Day inspired me. It made me think, have I handled my life in such a way such that God sees my prayers, offerings and sacrifice as a memorial? Paul the apostle speaks of his sacrifice in Philippians 3:7-14:
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ...
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Philippians 3:12 - 14
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus...
In verse 17 Paul goes on to say follow me as I follow Christ.
Remembering Ministers Whom Christ Used to Impact My Life
Each time I take communion, I remember what Christ did for me. But upon this day I'm inspired to consider the ministers whose sacrifice unto Christ impacted my life. These are those whose actions are worthy of remembering for their sacrifice was motivated by their love for our Lord.
I can honestly say, there are a few whom I've been inspired to follow them as they follow Christ. I pray I live my life in such a way as to inspire others to follow me as I follow Christ.
So here are two questions I'd like to leave you with today.
- Who has God used in your life who is worthy of remembering and honoring them today?
- Do you want your prayers, giving, sacrifice and life to come before God's throne as a memorial?
I'd like to suggest a few things:
- Offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for those whom Christ has used to bless your life.
- Consider sharing with them how their sacrifice impacted your walk with Christ.
- Examine your life and consider if there are any places or actions you'd like change as you contemplate our temporary time on earth as opposed to eternity.
I pray you would have a blessed Memorial Day.