February 8, 2010

To Live is Christ — appreciating others

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but she retained her sense of humor along with memories of childhood events and things of the past.

One day I told her that I could not remember the past as well as she did. I was worried that if I lost my memory in the same way as she did, I’d be in trouble. I wouldn’t remember the past and couldn’t remember yesterday — my mind would be a blank. She laughed and laughed.

Memories can be a blessing or a bane. If I think about sad events, I can become sad all over again. God instructs me to examine those things in light of His purposes, and that often turns sorrow to joy.

Remembering people needs to be responded to from a biblical perspective as well. For some, it is easiest to remember all the good stuff. I tend to go to the other end of the spectrum. That is why Paul’s example is so important. He said . . . 

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, (Philippians 1:3–5)
This is a spiritual discipline. As God brings people to mind, and as I go through the names of those on my prayer list, I tend to ask God to forgive them, or to help them, or give them wisdom. I notice that being thankful doesn’t come automatically. I need to make a conscious effort to do it.

However, to live is Christ means being thankful for those who are in the family of God with me. We have so much in common, mainly Christ, but also our goals for our own lives and hopes for the lives of others. We may differ on minors, but the gospel unites us and that alone is an amazing grace.

Besides the reasons for being thankful, just doing it makes me appreciate people. Thankfulness also produces joy in my heart and fills me with gratitude to God for bringing others to mind and then asking me to pray for them.

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