Pastoral Letter 15 May 2022
My dear readers,
Your Memory and Your Name
Proverbs 10:7: “The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.”
Memories of a loved one, or for that matter anyone, is most apparent during the vigil service of that loved one who has just passed away. If we are asked to give a eulogy, it becomes even more significant. We rack our brain to recall as far back as possible any fond memories of time spent together that are worthy of sharing to remember the person in a good way. The memory must be truthful and not some made-up experiences. If it is made up then it cannot be called a memory.
Memories are basically a recollection of past experiences. Parents who did not spend much time with their children when they were growing up will have little or no memories of those years. These missed opportunities of crediting lots of memories of the people that God has brought into our lives into our memory bank will not return. They have changed. We also change. Every present experience is a new memory made by two “new” persons interacting and sharing their lives for better or for worse. For example, a mother spends time with her 12-month-old toddler today, but tomorrow both of them will be one day older and different from the today when they are both one day younger. This is more pronounced when the parties are in their evening years as older folks change more drastically every twenty-four hours.
How are your memories? You may ask of “what” or “who”?
First, how are your memories with God in Christ? Are the memories or your prayer life with Him precious and blessed because you spent plenty of fruitful and personal time with Him without ceasing? Perhaps the memories are painful and sad because you do not have much in your memory bank of any intimate time in prayer other than smattering bits and pieces of prayer here and there when you were sick. Outside of prayer before food you are not able to recall praying for self or any friend or loved ones in a serious manner. Do you have copious fond memories of communion with God in the understanding and application of God’s Word? Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is one of the blessed memories all believers ought to cherish and thank God for as it is a frequent and weekly exercise that helps us maintain our holy walk with God.
Second, how are your memories with family in a Christian home where Christ is Head and the peace of God in Christ prevails? Is it one of special thanksgiving whenever you recall those early days when you set up your new home as a newly married couple with all your spiritual desires to make it a home of which God would be pleased to say, “Have you seen my faithful servants in their godly home?” Do you have an ocean-full of Christ-centred memories of bringing your children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord and of training them up from the beginning of their lives in the way of God’s holy Word? If your parents came to know Christ because of your holy witness, it is a memory that is priceless and you are thankful to the Lord that you will forever be together in heaven. Do you have precious memories of your children’s salvation; of how, after years of loving and patient obedience to His holy Word in pointing them to the Saviour and you obeyed His command to baptize them and to bring them up in the admonition of the Lord, the Lord honoured your faith?
Third, how are your memories of your time in the world as a student or as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ in your place of work? Prayerfully, there is a giant container full of them as you sought God’s kingdom and His righteousness first, testifying to others of God’s love in Christ. And some have come to know the Lord by His grace and mercies. These are memories that you carry with you all the way to heaven.
Fourth, how are your memories of your church life? Have you been a great blessing to God's people whereby you constantly provoke them unto love and good works? Your faithful and unceasing service constrained by Christ’s love has resulted in the spiritual growth and well-being of God’s people from the youngest to the oldest. You sought to promote Christ only, serving faithfully and tirelessly in the background. The greatest delight to your soul is to see God’s people coming for worship and fellowship and the church’s ministries bustling with God's people who are praising the Lord.
The above are the blessed memories of the just. All Christians have been made just by God in Christ. These are to be the memories of all of God's children. Are they yours?
Conversely, “the name of the wicked shall rot.” Man likes to leave his mark on earth after he is gone. Foundations are set up for this purpose. Monuments are built to remind the world that these individuals contributed something to improve the lives of others. Therefore, these individuals live for self. They gain material wealth believing that it is only with money power that they can leave an indelible good mark to remember them by. They spend their life making money. Then they give some of it away to help others so that by their “good” work their names will be remembered for years to come and long after their death.
God has one word to describe such human efforts. Their names shall rot, i.e. as by worms eating! The people of the world are born in sin and are completely depraved in heart and mind as evidenced by their words and works. There is no exception outside of Christ. Leaving behind a name in such an evil decaying world will surely bring decay to every earthly name. The present generation may think well of you, but not the generations that follow. Many statues and monuments in America commemorating great men of the past have been pulled down and desecrated. The rot will be slow but certain. It is a global rot. Man’s name will be forgotten and replaced by new names from new generations, like the past records set by champions of old replaced by new ones. Practically every record has been superseded. Old records are forgotten, i.e. rotted away with time. Remember how great Jesse Owens once was when he became the fastest man on earth in Germany, beating the superior Arian race concept of Adolf Hitler prior to WWII? Has he not been replaced by many new “fastest men”? Today it is Usain Bolt who is remembered by today’s generation. Bolt will also be forgotten when the next fastest man rises to prominence.
All things done on earth are reserved for destruction by fire because this world is reserved for destruction by fire. God warns in 2 Peter 3:7: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” Rotten things are burned. Fire destroys all that is rotten! This includes the names of all evil men.
Which do you prefer? Being one of the righteous who lived for the Lord Jesus Christ that others have memories of? Or living for yourself and making a name that will surely rot away? May God help us to live and choose wisely. Amen.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew