Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”Joshua 4:5–7 ESV.
Whenever the Lord helps someone in the Bible, his people will often commemorate it by building a memorial to him. For instance, after Noah had exited the ark, he built an altar to God (Gen. 8:20). Abraham did the same when God promised to give the promised land to his descendants (Gen. 12:7). Jacob set up a pillar after God visited him (Gen. 28:18). Here, after the Israelites had crossed the Jordan, they assembled a stone memorial.
There are a few reasons for this. One is that these landmarks will remind God’s people of God and his grace, evoking gratitude, joy, and awe.
It’s important to create reminders like this. However, they don’t have to be large landmarks. In fact, if you look around your room, there’s certainly at least one item there that reminds you of the past, like a precious gift from your childhood or an old photo. You’ve probably glanced over at it and remembered its history many times before, maybe even shown it to your friends and family and told them about it. A smaller object that evokes emotions and memories like this is called a memento.
Here comes the question. Do you have any mementos to God that reminds you of what he has done for you?
If you don’t, then I suggest that you begin your collection now. You can start by thinking about a significant event where God helped you, open up your Bible or diary, and write a note about it on a blank page. Now, whenever you open to that page, it’ll be a memento that reminds you of God and his love. Later you can tell others about it to inspire them too.
We should make it a habit to remember all of God’s gracious blessings. We’ll be so much more grateful and joyful for it.
Finally, here a related question for you to think about. Why do you think so many Christians wear crosses? What is that a memento of?