Do You Remember What I Said?

There was this great treat I used to get as a child.

That treat was being able to go out for my Mum down the road to the shop to get something for her. Like some item she might need for cooking or something she was doing in the house. Sometimes it would be going down the road to the corner shop, or to the other corner shop that was down the road and to the right and a few hundred yards down the road. Or going to that other corner shop that was down the road to the right and bit further than the other corner shop. On special occasions I might even had to walk into the town centre to get what she was looking for.

It was a treat for me, because whatever I was given to spend on the item might also include my commission for getting it! So I would get the salt or the flour or the bread or the washing up liquid and then on top of that I would also be able to get my Mars bar, or maybe if there was enough of a commission I could even get a Dairy Milk!! (Those were the days when the Mars bar were cheaper than the Dairy Milk … those were the days indeed. I tell you back in my day …)

As I got used to this arrangement, however, my Mum decided to entrust some more responsibility to me. So rather than just getting one thing from one place, she might ask me to get three things, two from one place and the other from another place. It wouldn’t be unusual that I would take the journey into the town centre – a journey of about fifteen minutes or so – and in that journey I would be doing all kinds of things in my head or maybe even doing a bit of reading while I walked. By the time I got to the first place, I’d have a rough idea of what Mum wanted, but then I’d see that the Marathon bar (which they scandalously changed to Snickers – who calls chocolate after a manner of laughing?) was on sale. By the time I got to the second place, I kinda forgot what my Mum wanted. So I’d get what I roughly thought she said and then return home to the look of disappointment. My Mum didn’t really rant and rave, but she would just give that look of disappointment. You have to bear in mind, these were the days before the mobile phone, so I had to remember it somehow and making a note of it was a bit of unnecessary hassle. That look of disappointment though, I can see it now – one of the worst looks to receive. One of the most effective guilt trips available.

“Do you remember what I said, Christopher?”

Cue my mumbling and bumbling and eventually apologising for not remembering what she asked for. It really was so gracious of her to still ask me to go our and do those trips again. I gotta admit, I eventually caught on to the fact that I needed to remember what she wanted somehow – even if it meant making a note of it. I’d remember it, so that I wouldn’t meet with that look of disappointment. It also made the Twix or Bounty that I was able to get with my commission all the sweeter.

Later on in life, I discovered that there is something even more upsetting than the look of disappointment from my Mum – the knowledge that I have neglected what the loving heavenly Father has said. It’s as though I can hear Him say,

“Do you remember what I said, Christopher?”

He’s not ranting and raving and he’s not really out to scold me and make me feel bad for the sake of it. It’s a matter of what’s more important to me – the treats or the relationship. The gifts or the Giver. The created or the Creator. IF I value the relationship, then it makes sense that I’ll value what He’s communicated.

That makes the delights of knowing Him all the sweeter.

(Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden


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