“A Time to Remember”
Updated: Mar 20
Sermon: “A Time to Remember”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from March 6, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
One thing about the text from Deuteronomy this morning is it, it reminds us that, sometimes we need to take a few moments and think. And not just think about all the busy-ness of the day and all this stuff that's going on with work or with our medical lives or whatever it is, but we need to take time and remember, we need to take a time to remember, because frequently it's in remembering that we realize how much God has really blessed us.
You know, when you think back upon your life and all the times that you struggled, you know, whether that be that you struggled with your relationships with your classmates when you were in school, whether that was things that just weren't going right in your life that may not have had anything to do, or you probably didn't have any control over, you know, maybe there was something going on in the family, or maybe you had to move at a time when you really didn't want to move or whatever that would be.
And we need to think back and remember those things. The people of Israel came into the promised land and God gives him this commandment about the first fruits offering. They're supposed to bring the first produce from their lands and bring it to the temple and dedicate it to the Lord. And then the community is supposed to have this celebration.
Well, we like having celebrations, and sometimes we're even willing to dish out, you know, I got 10 bucks left at the end of the pay period I can donate to that. But we don't often think in this passage about what led up to it. I've heard a lot of times where pastors have talked about this passage and used it as a stewardship sermon. You know, why we have to give to the Church.
And it's all about you. You have to bring your first fruit so that the church can exist and do its… Well, that's not the point of the passage. The point of the passage is that we bring our first fruits because, the children of Israel we're to bring their first fruits to the temple as an offering because they could remember what all God had brought them through that got them to that point where they could be thankful, where they could be thankful.
And think about all the things in our lives that God has brought us through. I mean, I should not have survived childhood. And I think back on that and some of those things I thought were pretty fun. In reality, looking back. Oh no, I'm surprised I survived.
First of all, my, my parents were told they were never going to bring me home from the hospital at birth because I had gulped fluid during delivery. Second of all, I had a head on collision when I was 17. And my parents again were told that I probably was not going to survive.
But in between those things, I did some really crazy stuff like water skiing on tidewater using stumps as slalom gates. I should not have survived that, and God got me through it. You know, we can look at our own lives and we see things like that.
But do we tie them to why we bring our offerings to God? And I'm not talking about just financial offerings. I'm not talking about just, you know, the first lettuce or beans or whatever from the garden. I'm talking about why we bring our offerings to God, offerings of ourselves, our time, our talent or resources.
Why do we bring those things to God? And we don't often think about the fact that that is tied to what all we have gotten through already in our lives.
And I don't care whether you're 95 or 16, 17, sorry. I don't care what the age is. If you think about it, there is stuff that is going on in your life that really you can thank God for having gotten you through it. How many people remember the nerves? The first time they had to give an oral report in school?
Do you ever give thanks? Did you ever thank God for getting you through it? I bet you, we all thank God for helping us pass test at one point or another.
Unfortunately, too many of us probably relied on God helping us pass that test instead of studying the way we should have, but all those little things. And we don't even think about it. The Israelites had been in Egypt, had been enslaved, got out of Egypt, had wandered in the desert. Now you say, well, that's a pretty major stuff. Yeah. That's some pretty major stuff, but they were also supposed to remember all that had happened to them while they were wandering in the desert. You know, they wandered in the desert for 40 years, That was an entire, that was the time period of a lifespan.
And a lot of scholars figured that it had to be 40 years so that those who remember the life of these, they had before being enslaved in Egypt were dead and gone. And so the people that were now in leadership positions of the people as they come out of the wilderness are people who never knew any different than relying on God.
So you have these people who had lived their whole life in day-to-day reliance on God and they come into the temple or they come into the promised land. And they're asked to give that first portion.
And we, we interpret the word tithe as tenth. Well, yeah, it's tenth, but it's the first tenth. Now I've heard a lot of economic advisors that will tell you that as you're going through adulthood or even starting even earlier that you pay yourself first, put money in savings first. That's not biblical. The first thing we should be doing is thanking God. The first thing we should be doing is thanking God.
And so, it's one of those things that we need to take a time to remember. The season of lent is a time to remember all that happened during Jesus' life and ministry, especially those last few weeks leading into Jerusalem. It's a time to remember the things that haven't gone quite so well in our life, and maybe have steered us away from our faith in God, and to repent, to turn back towards God.
It's a time to remember all of those things. Not just the good, but the good and the bad together. The children of Israel wandering through the desert. I'm sure remembered the fact that they were hungry at times, and at other times they were thirsty. What did they also remember the manna, the quail… Did they give thanks to God for the locusts, just as much as they gave, thanks to God for the manna and the quail.
You know, if it wasn't for the bad things that happened in life, we would not appreciate the good things would we.
You have to wonder about that sometimes if it wasn't for the negative things that happened, would we really even appreciate the good things? It's been proven out many times over. The people that grow up with having everything handed to them, never appreciate it. They never appreciate it. If you look over the course of history, people who have inherited great wealth frequently squander it because they never learned how to deal with it to begin with.
We have been dealt great wealth in the blessings we've gotten from God, but unless we remember the bad things, as well as the good that got us to this point, then our thankfulness is going to only be half-hearted. And we need to remember all of that. Just as the people of Israel were being told to remember all of it, this is why they had to repeat that passage about my father was a wandering Aramean who became a great nation, was enslaved… and they do this narration of the whole, of the history so they could remember. What they had been brought through and how God had taken care of them. And then, and only then as result, could they come and give thanks with the first portion.
So what does it mean for us today to remember? We don't go around reciting our history. Well, what does it mean for us today to remember all the God has gotten us through both the bad and the good, and then do we bring it to God and offer that first portion to God in thanks.
That's something for us to think about. We spend so much of our life worrying about what is going to happen, that sometimes we forget what has already been, and we need both. Amen.