It happens to me quite often. I have a thought, perhaps something I must do, a point for a sermon, a comment I want to make, then I get momentarily distracted and can’t remember what I was thinking about. To help combat my fuzzy headedness, I live with lists – lists for the week’s meetings, responsibilities, and activities; lists of emails I need to send; lists for sermons; lists for shopping. Furthermore, I jot down thoughts that I know could be useful in the future. I am trying to get into the habit of noting passages in books which have left an impression on me.
God is concerned with our propensity toward forgetfulness. It is not such a big deal if we leave the supermarket without a loaf of bread, but it is a big deal if we fail to remember His character and His works. God addressed this trend in the Old Testament by instructing Israel to set up memorial stones on various occasions – Josh 4, 7, 22, and 24 are examples. He instituted the Passover Feast so that the people would remember their deliverance by grace (Exodus 12:1-14). He also instituted the Sabbath so they would remember their deliverance from Egypt, as well as His works of creation (Deut 5:15; Exodus 20:8-11).
In the New Testament the apostles provide a written record so that God’s people will not become forgetful. 2 Peter 3:1-2, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), (2) that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” The Lord’s Supper is given to ensure that a very tangible reminder of Christ’s death is continually set before us – “do this in remembrance of me……” The Ephesian church stands as an example of the dire consequences of forgetfulness. Evidently, they lost sight of God’s love for them and so their love waxed cold for Him (Rev 2:4-5).
There are particular seasons which tend to foster forgetfulness:
* Busy times – it is not so much that the things of God are completely forgotten, but rather crowded out by everything else that we fit into our days. We grow dull of heart and cease to remember that the kingdom of God is to be our priority.
* Prosperous times – it is easy to take God’s blessings for granted and we forget to be thankful; we forget that we are dependent upon Him and succumb to an attitude of self-sufficiency. There is no sense of urgency to pray for our daily needs when the cupboards are overflowing, money is in the bank and we are enjoying good health.
* Difficult times – when life is painful the tendency is to forget the love and goodness of God. The dark clouds of tribulation obscure God’s provision in the past and in the present.
God is aware that passing through such seasons, we become forgetful. Thankfully, He never forgets us. He graciously ministers to us reminding us of precious truth through the reading and preaching of His Word, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and the fellowship of the saints. “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” In all that we forget, may we not forget the value of the daily means of grace where we are reminded of God’s faithfulness.