Lost in Memory

Genesis 39:21–41:36, Psalm 9:1-16

Old age, being “blonde”, being scatterbrained, being AD(H)D, having a bad time with names are all often used to excuse memory issues. While there are definitely cases of that being true, another cause of memory issues is being overly mentally occupied and pride. Each person and even each situation may have a different cause for why we don’t remember names, dates, or other important things. Today it is quite easy to be overly mentally occupied. We are being bombarded with messaging and media. Even if you don’t have Facebook or Twitter, the bombardment doesn’t stop.

The question we need to ask ourselves when it comes to memory problems is it about me, or is about how important they are to me? Yes, that’s a poke indeed, isn’t it? You just met someone and ten seconds later you forgot their name. It sadly probably means that you don’t care enough to remember. Yes, that is harsh, and we all bear that failure to some degree or another. The reality is that we only have so much capacity to remember, and we prioritize information unconsciously. If we don’t think we need to remember the person, or that it’s okay that we don’t, we won’t. The Dale Carnegie course trains people to remember people the first time. Yes, there are other things with the course, but often the feedback from the very first day is the instructors’ ability to remember everyone’s name the first time and keep the knowledge to the next week. We don’t deliberately think this way. It’s natural.

That’s part of what makes this part of Joseph’s story so interesting. With the help of God, he interpreted the dreams of two men. All he asked in return was to be remembered. Think about this. Both the baker and steward were in the midst of a significant life event. Generally, when people are involved with our significant life events, we remember them. The baker, of course, would have liked for Joseph to be wrong. The steward’s dream was positively affirmed, and then the baker’s demise was yet another confirmation of Joseph empowered by God…yet the steward forgot. It seems it was a pretty quick forget, too. While we might be quick to condemn the baker for forgetting, we have to remember that we, too, forget people, and even those that were part of a significant life event can be forgotten.

Remembering people’s names is important. They feel cared for by that simple gesture of being remembered. We show we care for them when we remember.

Eventually, the steward did remember, and it’s a good thing, too! Imagine what would have happened had the baker continued to forget Joseph! Egypt would have enjoyed its bounty and been destroyed along with the rest of the region during the famine. God’s blessing would not have been bestowed. Who knows what would have happened to the tribe of Israel? What about Jesus? Yes, we can say it was God’s plan, yet like so many things it revolved around singular defining events, including remembering a Hebrew slave prisoner.

1) Have you had the experience of someone remembering you unexpectedly? How did that feel?

2) It is important to God that we remember. What is something significant that God has done in your life that you continually remember?

FD) Do you have any special trips or experiences you like to remember? How do you keep them in your memory?