Like many of us, I look forward to Memorial Day weekend cookouts, sales, friends, and family. I pray your extended weekend will be full of good food, peace, joy, and great deals. As we give attention to the freedoms and blessings around us and in conjunction with remembering those who died serving in the armed forces, I encourage you to consider a question. How can our prayers and lives as Disciples of Christ ascend to our Lord as a memorial for use to saturate the 4B Area with the gospel? What if our focus on Memorial Day became to serve people in such a way, our Lord would count our devotion as a remembrance and as a tool for building His Kingdom?
God’s decision to do such a thing would not be unprecedented. In Acts chapter 10, Dr. Luke writes, “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”
This week I was driving out of my neighborhood and noticed cars parked on both sides of the street for hundreds of feet. I wondered what was going on until I noticed a sign as I made a right turn at the end of my street. The sign read, “Estate Sale.” My first instinct was to call my wife and inform her of the opportunity to find a bargain. As I pondered what treasures my wife might find, all of the sudden I got an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. Not an anxiety attack, but a noticeable sensation of “butterflies” in my gut. Our Lord reminded me in that moment, all of my things will parish or end up in the hands of someone else. He spoke to me with an urgent reminder, “My son, store up treasures in heaven…” He impressed upon me the question, “will the things you’re investing your time and efforts into “ascend as a memorial before [Me]?”
I work in a vocation clearly and unapologetically focused on building the Kingdom of God. However, my default thinking, as I walk around and talk around, is not, “seek first the Kingdom..,” when it comes to my non-work related time, talent, and resources. I believe our Lord is okay with His children enjoying all of the wonderful things He made for us. He literally gave us everything we need to live a luxurious life. As I drove, our Lord also convinced me that focusing too much on the pursuit of happiness, building wealth, or amassing possessions is futility.
This Memorial Day weekend, join me by considering the things we do in commemoration of those who have exchanged their lives for our freedoms in America by striving to do something that may, “ascend as a memorial to God.” Doing so may prove the best way to remember and honor those who served and died serving in the United State armed forces.