Summary: This sermon is for Black Heritage Sunday, looking at the role of people of color in the Bible.
There Is A Price To Pay If We Forget
I received my tax bill on my house at the beginning of the month one June or July. I knew it was my property tax bill, so I intended to pay it at the end of the month with all my other bills on the 30th of the month.
When I got to paying the bills, I noticed it said, if this bill is not paid on the 27th of the month, an additional 10% charge would apply. That meant because of three days, I would be paying an extra $80. I made a note to myself not to forget to pay the tax bill earlier for the second half of the year.
When the tax bill came this time in January, I let it sit just like all the rest of my bills. I opened the bill on the 30th only to discover that bill was again due on the 27th and now I would have to pay another 10% penalty of $80. Now I had the money in the bank for the bill, I had saved it over the course of the six months, but I had to pay an extra price because of forgetting what had happened to me in the past.
There is a tremendous power available to us when we remember the past. Let’s meet Mary to illustrate the point. Mary went to North Carolina to take care of an elderly aunt who lived out in the country. The house was a small one but comfortable.
After a few years the aunt died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Mary was wondering how she was going to make ends meet without her aunt’s pension and social security check. As she was going through her aunts old papers, she came across her aunt’s will. Her aunt’s will simply said, "I leave everything I own to my niece Mary." Mary was glad that she at least had a roof over her head.
Unknown to Mary her aunt had a some stocks that were now worth $500,000.00. Now Mary intended to take the will to a lawyer, but she never did because she had no money. She saw the stock certificates but they looked to her like old worthless pieces of paper. Eventually Mary forgot about the will and lived at the poverty level for the rest of her life.
If only Mary had remembered that will and the stock certificates. She paid a price simply because she forgot a part of her past. If only she had known her family’s history through her aunt, her whole life would have been changed. The power to remember can get us through some difficult times and give us hope for the present .
God told the children of Israel again and again to remember, "When you were slaves for 430 years, I was the one who set you free by doing all kinds of miracles on your behalf. I was the one who brought you out of Egypt not as slaves, but as rich victorious people on their way to the promised land." God wants us to remember the past, so that we can best enjoy the present.
When we do not forget the past, we become more grateful for those who have come before us. Nothing makes us more ungrateful than a short memory. You see, we did not get where we are today, all by ourselves. Somebody had a hand in opening some doors for us.
I have yet to meet a baby, who changed his or her own diapers, or got up and got their own milk. Tell your neighbor, we all owe somebody something, and we ought to be grateful. We even owe some people that we will never meet in this lifetime. If we recognize our history, we will have a better understanding of who we are and how God is involved in our lives.