Lest we forget


Next Thursday, three hundred million Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving, 2012. Let me tell you a story.

Two businessmen f rom Chicago were on a safari in Africa. They were days away from civilization, camping out on the veldt. In the middle of the night Richard awoke and looked around. Then he said in a loud whisper, “David, are you awake?” David, still half asleep, replied, “I am now. What in the world do you want at this unearthly hour?” Richard said, “Look up in the sky and tell me what you see.”

“O. K.,” David said. He looked up for a while and then said, “I see the Milky Way. I can see some planets and millions of stars. Judging by the placement of the stars, I can see that it is about half-past three in the morning. And with no clouds in sight, I can see that we will have a beautiful, sunny day tomorrow.”

Richard, seemingly unimpressed, said, “Is that all you see?” David racked his brain and finally responded, “Yes, Richard, that is all I see. What are you getting at? Am I missing something?” Richard answered with a bit of pity in his voice, “Yes, David, you are missing the most obvious. You are missing the fact that apparently somebody has stolen our tent!”

It is so easy for all of us to miss the most obvious? Truly we live in a most wonderful time. We can see all the wonderful advancements in knowledge, great breakthroughs in technology, the marvels of modern medicine and science. But if these are all we see, then, like David, we are missing what is most obvious.

When the Children of Israel, having seen God’s miracles in Egypt and experienced his guidance through the Wilderness, were preparing to enter the Promised Land, God spoke to them, reminding them of the obvious. He said, “I am the one who delivered you. I am the one who fed you. I am the one who made sure your clothes didn’t wear out. I am the one who has brought you to this point in time.

“After you have established your homes and received a material abundance far greater than anything your ancestors could have imagined, I want you to remember. You are going to be tempted to say: ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth.’ When that day comes, I want you to remember that I am the one who has given you everything.”

Remember. That is what God’s people in every generation are supposed to do. Remembering God who has given us everything ought to be easy; it ought to be obvious, but isn’t.

Looking back we can see that every nation in the history of the world has managed to forget God and succumb to the sin of pride. Every nation that has become a global leader, after having enjoyed a few generations of prosperity, looks around and concludes that they have earned what they have.

“Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—Lest we forget!” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.

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2012-11-15 digital edition

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