Where Is Your Ebenezer?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

The more that we receive in life, the more prone we are to forget to be thankful for our blessings.  It is easy to forget – it takes intentionality to remember.  Our distinctly American holiday tradition of Thanksgiving is about remembering and being thankful.  How well do you remember?

Moses reminded the people of Israel, “The Lord your God has brought you into the land He promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  And when He has given you great cities full of good things – cities you didn’t build, wells you didn’t dig, and vineyards and olive trees you didn’t plant – and when you have eaten until you can hold no more, then beware lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the land of slavery.  When you are full, don’t forget” (Deut. 6:10-13).

Rebecca Sharrock is one of only 80 people worldwide who has a condition called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM).  She can remember every moment of her life in extraordinary detail.  She can even remember lying on a sheepskin in the front seat of a car when she was 12 days old.  She was staring up at the steering wheel and wondering what it was.  She is a Harry Potter fan and has memorized all of J.K. Rowling’s Potter books.  She can reel off word-for-word large passages when asked to recite one of the chapters of her books.  Wow – what a capacity to remember! 

Rebecca has that rare condition that helps her remember.  What do you and I do to help us remember?

I’ve seen some people who tie a string around their finger to help them remember something.  I’ve witnessed people set their alarm on their smartphones so they will remember a certain appointment.  When I need to remember to carry something home with me from the office, I place it in front of the door so I have to step over it. 

The New England Patriots have a unique way of remembering their victory in the 2017 Super Bowl.  They were trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 in the 4th quarter.  Everybody had thought the game was over.  The Patriots made a furious comeback and wound up beating the Falcons.

The Patriots designed a unique championship ring to help them remember.  Each player received a ring with 283 little diamonds in it representing the 28-3 deficit they overcame.  I really don’t think they will need any help remembering that come-back to win the Super Bowl, but the ring is a good reminder.  I wonder if this year they might intentionally fall behind 58-3 so they can get more diamonds on the ring next year!!

Intentionally create some way of remembering.  I heard about one little girl who had to apologize in a letter for forgetting her aunt’s birthday.  She was very creative at helping jog her aunt’s memory when she wrote, “Dear Aunty, I’m sorry I forgot your birthday.  It would serve me right if you forget mine next Friday.”

Hosea 13:4-6 records God saying to the Israelites, “I have been with you ever since I brought you out from Egypt.  You have no God but me.  There is no other savior.  I took care of you in the wilderness in that dry and thirsty land.  But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me.”

We often sing the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  The second verse has “Here I raise my Ebenezer.”  I expect very few people know what an Ebenezer is.  It is based on 1 Samuel 7, and it is actually a stone that is raised to help us remember how God has helped us in times past.  “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” 

Raise your Ebenezer this Thanksgiving!  Remember not to forget!

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