Have you ever gone to the store to buy something – and forgotten why you’re there? Or forgotten an important meeting? Hasn’t everybody?
There are plenty of times that I’ve forgotten things. We all do that. I’ve even forgotten some pretty important things.
I’m not alone in that, of course. Everyone reading this fits into that category. It’s tough to forget something of significance, and it can be embarrassing to admit. I’ve mentioned before the florist who will deliver flowers the day AFTER an anniversary or birthday with an apology note that takes responsibility for the late delivery and exonerates the person who truly forgot.
God doesn’t ever have that problem.
He clearly remembers everything that you’ve ever done in His Name to serve Him and His people. He doesn’t ever forget that. Any of it.
Our particular challenge is to appreciate it, but NEVER to try and turn it into a bargaining chip for tomorrow’s prayer needs. I know, it sounds crass. But God deals with us on the basis of GRACE, not some sort of cosmic credit line. “Oh, you did something REALLY difficult; you get TWO answered prayers.” No, that’s not how our relationship with God works.
Some of you are thinking, “I would never do that;” and you may be right. But even as I listen to some people pray (and often when they are praying for others) that kind of thinking creeps into their prayers. “Lord, please help Jill in this difficult situation. You know how long she has served you, Father, and the great effort she puts into leading her Sunday School class.” It is as though we are trying to convince God, supplying information that may have slipped His mind.
But God DOESN’T forget us, or our service. Every interaction He has with us and for us is based upon His absolute knowledge of everything, and His unhindered power to cause His will to come to pass. He chooses to allow us to participate in the process by means of our prayers. But He is certainly well capable of accomplishing His will without them, when He so chooses.
He engages us in the process for our benefit, to develop us for further growth and ministry impact. He does it FOR us, so that He can work THROUGH us to advance His Kingdom. The wise parent engages their child in ever-growing appropriate responsibilities that enable them to face greater challenges. The wise parent also knows when to “draw the line” and pass responsibility for things onto their children; refusing to keep doing FOR them what they can and ought to be doing for themselves. Many two-year-olds need help wiping their bottom; but healthy and properly developed twelve-year-olds do not.
God never forgets the love we have shown Him through our service. The day is coming when the things we have done will be the basis of our rewards in heaven. But let’s never forget that the here and now operate differently than the there and then.
He loves us. Full stop. He never forgets our service. Though our commitment to serve well gives Him pleasure, it does not buy us benefits. He has already adopted us, made us His heirs, and seated us in heavenly places alongside Jesus. He has filled us with His Spirit, enabled the fruit of His nature to grow in us and poured out His gifts upon us. Not because of what we have done, but because HE LOVES US.
We choose to serve Him with all of our capacity for the same reason. Not to MAKE Him love us, but because He does; and because we choose to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
He sees, He remembers; in fact, He never forgets.