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Paul Hayden

Past Investments that Keep on Returning

February 8, 2016

     It's nice when people don't forget you, isn't it? It's nice when people remember how you have positively affected or contributed to their lives in the past. None the less, if you are not around, people forget you, don't they? The "what have you done for me lately, live in the present" mentality seems to dictate everything, doesn't it? Out of sight, out of mind. Especially in the playoffs of life. You have to perform or you're out.
     This reminds me of a church in the Bible. It was the church in the book of Hebrews. They started really strong with God but circumstances caused them to doubt God and themselves. In the past, they visited those imprisoned because of their faith. They loved one another. They showed hospitality to strangers. They had a deep concern for people. They were a light where there was no light.

     Then things began going wrong. Christianity got tough. Some were having their property seized. Some were being imprisoned for their faith and some even martyred. They started leaving the church. They began to journey down the road of drifting, doubting, dullness, despising and denying God and church. They couldn't help but wonder and ask those questions we all ask from time to time. “Has God forgotten me?” “Does God care?” “Why are things going wrong when everything used to go so right?” “What have I done to deserve this?”
     In the middle of this faith crisis, the writer of Hebrews steps in with an uplifting, encouraging truth that reveals the bigger picture. It's Hebrews 6:10. "For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints." In other words, God doesn't forget our works for Him, our love towards Him, and the concern we had for people, both inside and outside of church. Even if what we did was in the past…God doesn't forget!

     Though we may forget God's power, His words, His love, His promises, His voice and His place in our lives, He doesn't forget us. If He remembers the number of hairs on your head (or lack thereof), surely He hasn't forgotten you. (Luke 12:7). He hasn't forgotten those wonderful things you did a long time ago in church, even though you may not be attending a church now. He is not so unjust as to do that. Your God inspired past can open the door again to a future of finishing strong with God and church. You get to bat again, if you want to!
     Remember the story in the Bible of the father and his prodigal son? The father never forgot his son, even when the son went far away and spent all of his inheritance. The father waited on the porch every day for his son to return. The son may have left the house but the son never left the family or the father’s heart. That’s the way God feels about us in this time of grace.
     Let me personalize this. You may walk away from God, but God will never walk away from you. The door is always open. God will leave the light on for you. God has done everything for you but you have to take the first step back. Don't forget God, He hasn't forgotten you.
     Now that I think of it, don't forget to call or email someone this week who has contributed positively to your past. Just like the writer of Hebrews, you just might be the encouragement they need to get back in the game again. Let them know you haven't forgotten them. Let them know their contribution in your life. Perhaps you could even start with your Father in heaven as well as your father on earth.

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com