Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935) is regarded as one of the greatest Supreme Court Justices of all time. However, the highly respected Judge was said to be a bit absent-minded.
Once Justice Holmes was riding a train when the Conductor began walking down the car, checking tickets. As he approached Holmes he saw him searching his wallet, unable to find his ticket. Frustrated, Holmes then checked each of his pockets. Still no ticket.
The Justice was more and more agitated with himself as he went through his briefcase, still unable to find his ticket.
Finally, the Conductor made his way to Holmes’ seat.
“Justice Holmes,” he said, laughing, “I know who you are. Everyone knows who you are. There’s no need to show me your ticket.”
“No, sir, that’s not the problem,” said Holmes. “The problem is that I can’t remember where I’m going.”
This morning as I read 2 Peter 3, I am reminded of the importance of remembering some important matters.
“This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” (2 Pet 3:1-2)
The apostle Peter knew from personal experience when he heard the rooster crow the pain of failing to remember (Lk. 22:61). So, admonishing his readers seems to be a theme in this short epistle from start to finish.
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you” (2 Pet. 1:12-13)
Remembering is not only the key to many good things,” wrote Gary Henry “it’s the preventive to many bad things.”
Ask any husband who forgot their wedding anniversary. Or his wife’s birthday. Or Valentine’s day. Forget, and you’re in trouble. Remember, and good things happen.
Over 150 times the Bible speaks of remembering both from a positive and negative perspective. “Remember Lot’s wife,” is a warning not to look back, yearning for that sinful life we’ve left behind.
After many years it’s easy for Christians to forget about the blessings of salvation and their relationship with the Lord. It’s important to remember where we came from. How we were saved. What God has done for us. And to remember daily the good gifts God gives us.
The Lord’s supper is designed to help us weekly remember Jesus. His love. His sacrifice. His cleansing blood. And his return to take us home with Him. “Do this in remembrance of me,” He urged when instituting the Supper.
Young people are admonished to remember their Creator during the days of their Youth. (Eccl. 12:1). Like the Psalmist, we need to “remember the works of the Lord (Ps 77:11). To remember His “tender mercies” and His “loving-kindness” (Ps. 25:6). And to remember His commandments and to do them (Pa 103:18).
Much of our preaching and teaching is reminding brethren to remember. Things we’ve been taught. Things we know. Things we believe. But things we need to be reminded of on a regular basis.
With the beginning of High School and College basketball practice coaches will run their players through drills they’ve done since they first began playing ball. Dribbling. Passing. Shooting. Pivoting. Blocking out. Defense. There are certain fundamental skills that every player needs to be reminded of. To practice. And to execute when the games begin.
The same thing is true spiritually. Bible reading. Prayer. Worship. Fellowship. These are fundamentals that help us to remember what’s really important.
New converts, restored Christians, and the younger generation needs to be reminded of the “words of the Lord.” Of basic Bible doctrines. The work of the church. Our personal responsibilities. And our relationship with one another.
Finally in the words of both Lewis Carroll and Dee Bowman, “Remember who you are.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman