Meditations by John Dean

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Value of Remembering

(Deuteronomy 32:7 KJV) Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations: Ask thy father, and he will show thee; Thine elders, and they will tell thee.

The older I get the more I realize the value of remembering. As a young man, I could sit for hours listening to the older folks tell stories about their successes and failures in life. They may have embellished them a bit over time, but I always found their stories to be great learning tools for my own life. Perhaps their good experiences were not quite as good and their bad experiences were not quite as bad as they remembered, but that did not matter to me. I discovered a treasure in each one of their stories that proved helpful in my own life.

Some believe that listening to such stories is not only a waste of time, but boring and “old order”. Those who feel that way have obviously missed the valuable concepts that caused these stories to become a reality to begin with.

One’s concepts, victories, and losses in life are the foundation for which one’s life-story is built. Generations may come and go, but how one handles the challenges of life in their particular generation is something to be treasured.

Recently, as I traveled through the mountains from Manchester to Sheffield, England, I saw something that had a profound impact on me. The scenic route that I was traveling took me over a large reservoir of water. It was absolutely beautiful, nestled between two mountains ranges. However, something caught my attention that immediately dampened the joy and tranquility I was experiencing.

In the process of establishing this reservoir, there was a small village that lay in the valley between the two mountain ranges where the reservoir was to be. Due to the construction of this reservoir, the residents of this village were forced to abandon their village after occupying it for generations.
Hundreds of years earlier, their ancestors built their homes, barns and the church with stone so they would never decay, and so they could pass them down from one generation to the next as an inheritance.

Eventually the water in the lake rose and the roofs of the houses and the steeple on the church finally disappeared as if they had never existed.

However, I was told that there are times when the waters of the lake would get so low that the houses, barns, church and even the streets would begin to quietly appear...completely intact.

I must admit that I got a little sad thinking about this village sitting all alone in the middle of the lake. For the first time in hundreds of years its homes were void of the smells of food cooking in the kitchen or the private conversations between a man and his wife. It would never again hear the sounds of a newborn baby cry or children laughing and playing as they ran up and down the streets of this village. The church bell would never again be heard on Sunday morning or the singing of hymns or the morning message.  I wonder about the topic of the last message and the title of the last hymn.

Nevertheless, our text does not imply that one should live in the past, but that one should learn from the past and then build on it. One’s physical generational past may appear to fade away, but their core values never do. There may even be times when one feels as consumed by their problems as this village did when it slowly slipped into its own watery grave. However, just as surely as this English village begins to appear when the reservoir waters get low, so do our core values appear when our personal reservoir gets dangerously low as well. It may even appear through a story of the past.

Help us to take this text seriously as we discover the treasures in our past. We too desire to leave a historical legacy for those who follow us. Father, I pray the personal legacy that I leave will not only be a good natural legacy, but more importantly a better spiritual legacy.

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