As I was cleaning today, I uncovered an old Concord High Yearbook sitting on the floor. Last fall, my best friend from high school, Carl, came to Delaware to visit his parents for a week. Catching up and reminiscing about our last high school reunion, I fetched my senior yearbook to put a face with all the names which came up. I’m not sure what it is, but the older I get, the more I repeat myself, sharing the same story annually with my wife and kids. As gracious as possible, I hear that apt reply, “That’s nice, but I’ve heard that before.”
From a writer’s perspective, there is nothing new under the sun, Ecclesiastes 1:9. When you’ve spent 3 years as an editor of a monthly newsletter and 2 more as the main contributor of this blog, some days you struggle to compose a paragraph let alone an entire piece. However, as I opened my yearbook, I had forgotten who I was, what I had accomplished and how a simple smile made an impact on my peers. The perfectionist in me never allowed me to accept and embrace compliments. Thus, these words were discarded, replaced by my lack of eloquence, stuttering and other deficiency’s.
This pessimism began to change for me in college during a Group service project on St. John’s Island in South Carolina. To my surprise, everyone in attendance received their own mailbox, near the center of our living quarters at a local high school. However, this mail was called Care Cards, a chance for others to write notes of encouragement and thanks to those who made a positive influence at some point during the day and week. The catch was you couldn’t open your mail bag until you got on your bus before leaving. I was so touched by this concept I incorporated it into my own mission trips when I became a youth pastor following college. Like my yearbook, every few years I will stumble across old mail bags, bringing tears to my eyes and joy to my soul as I savor these fond memories.
From a biblical perspective, Israel’s memory was so poor, God called Moses to devote an entire book called Deuteronomy, the second law, reminding the Jews of everything they had forgotten. Although retention varies among children and adults today, modern pastors recycle famous words of Jesus, the apostle Paul, and Peter to refresh the memories of lost souls. While some in church may whisper, “That’s nice, but I’ve heard that before,” someone in attendance may be hearing this truth for the first time. Therefore, be patient if someone tends to be redundant, for someone likely needs a reminder of promises within the Bible like John 3:16.
by Jay Mankus