If you had just one

It is an astounding time in which we live. In some parts of the world that are far remote to our way of thinking, life goes on day by day as it has for generations without change and little access to potentially life changing information and innovation. In our world of technology, change is what’s on the menu. The world is literally available at our fingertips. Need a recipe, instructions for how to fix nearly anything, or need to make a reservation for a destination across the world? Presto, your answer is dished up right away.

My grandmother, when she wanted to read a passage of scripture, would go to the table where the old family bible sat and carefully undo the brass clasps that protected it’s pages.

In contrast, we can access the bible “online” wherever we go. Don’t remember where to find a verse? No problem. Just “Google” a word or partial phrase and multiple results will appear. Click on one and you are immediately taken directly to the passage, available in whatever version or language you want.

I sometimes wonder what effect such readily available information will have on our abilities to remember things for ourselves. Whether it’s a phone number or a bible verse, a machine remembers it for us.

I’ve recently been asking people to imagine a life where such abundance of information was not readily available; where political pressures prohibit access to certain books, or that place in your life where a sudden stroke or gradual onset of Alzheimer’s robbed you of your ability to access information. If, in that terrible situation, you were somehow able to remember just one name, whose name would it be? If you could remember only one short passage of scripture, which one would you want to always be emblazoned in your mind and heart?

I find it a nearly impossible task. The thought of summarizing all of God’s Word onto a scrap of forbidden paper or having mental capacity to remember only one verse is daunting to say the least. Jesus summed up all the law and the prophets with these few words:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39

We could shorten that to a simple yet profound challenge to each of our daily activities: Love God – love others. If you remembered nothing else, how might this simple ‘code’ guide your every day? Galatians 5:6 similarly summarizes my daily and life purpose: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” It reminds me that whatever else is taken away, faith and love remain the essence of life.

Given the challenge, a friend quickly replied with this verse: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25-26 If he could remember just one short promise, he wants it to be the one of eternal life offered freely to him by his Lord Jesus.

What about you? Maybe you have a “life verse” you’ve committed to memory that encourages you and continually points you toward your prized goal. Thankfully, we don’t have to choose just one. And while there’s no guarantee we won’t fall victim to some debilitating condition which limits our ability to remember and process the valuable truths and promises, committing one or more of those to memory now will continue to guard your heart and mind even in those days.

God’s Word is the antidote to our woes. It’s how Jesus answered every temptation. Commit it to memory now. Apply it to your daily life and watch how it helps you in times of trouble.

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