Mementos provide inspiration, reminder of our journey

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The shelves in my office look pretty much like how you would expect them to look. They are lined with books, pictures and coffee mugs. Some shelves are disheveled and overflowing with books, while others are neatly organized.

On one shelf I have a 10-year-old picture of myself in an oversized suit with a gentleman who at the time was about 92. Next to this picture is a lapel pin that says Deacon Ministry. At the first church I served with he was my family deacon. I was given this pin after conducting his funeral nearly four years after the picture was taken. I keep them together because they just belong that way.

Everyone has something that fills them with inspiration. Scripture verses, pictures, a song, something that when it comes your way is encouraging, challenging and brings a sense of joy. Memorial Day is partially about inspiration. Memorial Day creates inspiration by relishing in great American pastimes of barbecues and picnics that both honor and celebrate the tremendous freedoms that have been sacrificially paid for by men and women of our military. Memorial Day belongs there.

Joshua succeeded Moses in the leadership of the Hebrew people. It was his role to lead the newly forming nation to conquer a new land promised to them by God. When they miraculously crossed the Red Sea on dry ground to begin their conquest, he commanded 12 men to each choose a stone and place them on the other side of the bank. They did this so that when the generations came behind them, they were able to say these stones remind us of God's faithfulness to keep and fulfill his promises. The stones belong there.

We need memorials like those stones. We need to surround ourselves with things that remind us of the journey we on. We need objects to look at and feel moved by during days of discouragement. We need monuments that inspire us to great faith and the dreaming of big dreams. We need memorials that remind us that God is faithful and we can do all things through the strength that he generously gives. We need stones that mark the seasons, the struggles and the joys that we have been through. Stones connected to memories that boldly give testimony to the transformation that has come by God's grace. Inspiring memorials belong there.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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