The late comedian Bob Hope made famous the song, “Thanks for the Memories.”He said he sang the song to every audience who responded to his shows, which were filled with jokes and music. It was his way of expressing heartfelt gratitude. I was just thinking about how we believers should take time to say to others who have impacted our lives: “Thanks for the memories!”
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Philippi: “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Phil. 1:3 NIV).
God Brings People into Our Lives
Over the past several years I have been writing for the Baptist Trumpet, I have referred to numerous trailblazers of our associated work. The majority of those I wrote about impacted me personally at one time or another. Some of them I was able to send notes of appreciation for their influence on my life, but others were promoted to Heaven before I realized I needed to thank them.
Today, while I can’t say thank you to them, I can thank my God for the special memories I have of each of them. The Lord brought each of these people into my life at times when I needed them most. Sadly, I didn’t realize their impact until later. I urge you to recognize that God has done the same for you — bringing certain people into your life to help, mold, teach, witness to and encourage you.
Thank God for Parents
My parents have been gone for decades. I can’t thank them now, but I thank God for letting me be their son. I am truly thankful for the memories. However, many of you still have your parents today. If so, don’t let time pass without thanking them for their love, sacrifices, influence, provision and intercession as they raised you in their home.
Thank God for Educators
When I recall my younger years, I am ashamed that I didn’t recognize the benefits of good instructors. Some were the educators during my elementary, secondary and college years. I owe so many debts of gratitude.
One such was Mrs. (Susie) McCray. From the time I entered the 7th grade, I heard how she was such a tough teacher — a mean old bear! I prayed that she would retire before I entered the 11th grade. How foolish! Today, Mrs. Susie remains one of the educators for whom I am most grateful. Yes, she was tough, but I learned so much from her in English and literature classes. I couldn’t write these columns had it not been for her. I thank God when I remember her!
To those I must add the spiritual educators — Sunday School teachers, youth workers and pastors, along with their wives, influenced me much more than I ever realized. Each of you can probably identify with what I am saying. Please, if the opportunity still exists, call, text or write a note to thank them for their impact on your life. For those who are no longer here, thank God for the memories.
Thank God for Churches
In this group are some of those I previously mentioned, but I refer to the bodies of Christ of which you have been part. God brought those people into your life for a purpose, and likely you never realized it!
In the course of my 76 years, I have been part of 13 churches in one way or another. That does not include the scores of other churches where I have been privileged to preach. Each of those was instrumental in the development of my spiritual growth, and I am so thankful for each of them.
Some of you may have been in one church all your lives. Still others may be like me, part of several. Either way, each of you has experienced God putting people in your life to accomplish His purpose.
God is Not Finished Yet!
Paul continued his letter to Philippi: “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:4-5).
The person who says “I don’t need anyone” is foolish. Everybody needs somebody sometimes! People need the Lord, and God puts people in their lives to meet that need. I often say, “It’s not what you know that counts. It’s who you know that makes the difference. That’s the only reason I’m going to Heaven!”
Have a great rest of the week and thank someone for impacting your life. Thank God and them for the memories!