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Honor the Past, Celebrate the Future
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE FAMILY
Terry R. Baughman
“When your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:6–7).
The past is an awesome place to visit, but certainly no place to live. History lives to instruct our decisions and direct our lives. The lessons of history provide a legacy upon which to build the future and a culture to correct our course. Our heritage is a foundation upon which to build, not a monument in which to dwell. An abode designed in a monument provides no place for growth and no windows for vision to peer into the future. A monument exists only to honor the past and has no ambition to explore possibilities to come.
A graveyard is not considered prime real estate for residential development. It lacks curb appeal and provides little scenic value for a family neighborhood. No one would want to put a beautiful home in the middle of tombstones and a meadow of memorials. We want our cemeteries, but at a distance. Let it be a place for mourning, for closure, and for remembrance, but never a prime location for a dwelling.
Memorials are important they remind us of past sacrifices. Monuments are made to remember the moments of important events and to be challenged by them. Our memorials define our existence and establish our history.
Memories and memorials recall past events and moments of great joy or tragedy, accomplishments or defeats. They keep the past alive for the present as lessons learned and sacrifices made, but they are never intended to be an occasion to relive or repeat.
Life is to be lived in the present and fulfilled in the future. As long as we have life we can dream of tomorrow and envision something more. Much of life is filled with plans for tomorrow and better days ahead. Opportunities exist for realization in the future and promises propel us to attempt greater things.
Joshua was instructed to build a memorial on the banks of the Jordan, but they were commanded to conquer Canaan. Both were in obedience to God’s voice and were vital to their success. The conquest of Canaan was their purpose for returning to the land after 400 years in Egypt. However, the memorial at the Jordan crossing would remind them of God’s miraculous provision and reaffirm the stories of God’s power.
The children of a future generation would ask, “What do these stones mean?” In that moment a lesson taught extended the promise and provision of God into a future. God’s promises are for more than the present. His plan stretches from the beginning to end. The memorials of past miracles and the monuments of great revelation give us occasion to extend His Word, His power, and His truth to another generation.
Pentecost was more than a memorable event in the past. We will commemorate the initial event but also anticipate future experiences. The Day of Pentecost was a launch pad, a new beginning to future spiritual provision. Peter explained then and reminds us now, “The promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).
“[Cornelius] … and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2 NIV).