If you were to come into my study at home, chances are, you would easily notice the spines from hundreds of neatly aligned and arranged books on the shelves. However, hidden inside the darkness of the hollow bookcases are the countless pages that I have earmarked in each book I have read. When I come across a powerful illustration or when a truth is illuminated to me, I will bend the page over at the top to make it easier for me to find it again later on. As surely as life is lived, my presence will one day disappear from this study. When that occurs and other hands own these books, I cannot help but wonder, will those hands find the same excitement in the nuggets I left behind?
Time and again in scripture, God’s people were encouraged to remember specific days, events, and people. Israel was told to “..remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee..” On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus told the disciples, “Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen from the dead.” When God delivered Israel from the decree of death in Esther’s day, they were told, “..these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city..” The pages of history are filled with many defining moments. Heroes are preserved and enlarged there, and villains are staged to remind us of mistakes not worth repeating. They are lives that have been earmarked. Can you recognize lives God has earmarked today? If you are looking for the big, the strong, the beautiful, or the famous, you may just miss them. How do you recognize a life that has been earmarked by God?
It is a life marked for recognition. Throughout the Old Testament, we read the words, “..and God remembered..” Typically it was said of His servants who had served faithfully during a wicked era. What is interesting though, is the fact this word “remembered” means “to mark as most noteworthy.” It is the picture of a shepherd taking a valuable sheep from his flock and bending its ear making it easier to find in moments of distress. There are times when the painful circumstances we are living amidst are nothing more than the hands of a Shepherd bending and breaking our ear for easy recognition and use down the road. Today, we recognize the names of Abraham, Moses, and David as giants of the faith. However, earlier in life, God “marked” them through the difficulty of being nomads, runaway convicts, and isolated cowards. Has God marked you to know how to find you when He needs you most?
It is a life made by repetition. In John 16:4, Jesus was again warning the disciples of their approaching sufferings and said, “…I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.” Here, the word “remember” carries the idea of “rehearsing.” It is the picture of a stage actor repeating his lines over and over until he has them down pat. How you and I respond to the simple, routine tasks of our life determine if we are of earmarking quality to God. Whether it is a mother folding clothes and washing dishes or a father attending business meetings and mowing grass, it is the quality of dependability God is building in us. It was how David fended sheep that told God he could tend a nation. It was how Gideon threshed wheat that told God he could thrash his enemies. God finds the loyal in simple repetition of life.
It is a life memorized by results. In John 12:16, it says, “These things understood not His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they…these things..” Here the word “remembered” means “to grasp firmly.” All He has said to them had finally sunk in, and it made the difficulties they had to face much easier. They may have lost His physical presence, but they gained the essence of His life. It is wise to mark every bump, pothole, and failure of our lives to ensure we make it easier for someone else. If not, those events of our lives will become like sea shells amidst the tide. You must either grasp it while you see it, or risk losing it forever.
To be bent by God is both necessary and noticeable in the lives of those God uses. Even now, God is writing and reading the book of your life. Although in time the pages will yellow and the leaflets become loose and brittle, perhaps someone will open it and discover the pages God has earmarked just for them.
©2003 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.