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Remember God in the Moment

Live in continual communication with God and with a constant awareness that he created you.


"Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, 'I have no delight in these days.'" (NASB) Remember is an interesting word. It conveys where your focus is.

We forget a lot of important things. For example, we forget about gravity. You probably didn't wake up this morning and think, Man, am I glad there's gravity! Without gravity I'd be floating around this room! I wouldn't be able to walk or digest food! Gravity is a governing force that God has set up to help us function here on Earth, and we don't think about it that much. Is God like that to you—some gravitational force that keeps things going but is rarely given much thought? The text says: Remember God.

Consider your car's windshield. Do you know how hard it would be to drive somewhere without a windshield? You would arrive at your destination with bugs all over your face and your hair blown in all directions. Thank God for your windshield! But do you ever get into your car and think, Man, am I glad I've got a windshield? Is God like that to you? Do you look right past him and forget what he does?

The text says that we should focus on God—that we should remember him. God is not like a windshield or gravity. Neither of those things cares whether you acknowledge them or not. Your windshield doesn't think, I feel so unappreciated; I do all this work, and they never notice me. What separates God from a windshield is that he is a Person. When you go a few days or even a week without remembering your Creator, you function independently of him. Unlike the windshield, he cares about that.

[My wife] Karen and I have been trying to take a walk every day. When you're on a walk, you meet a lot of people. When you see somebody, you know that the courteous thing to do is to acknowledge their presence in some way. You say "Good morning" with a gesture, through eye contact, or even with your voice. Acknowledging the presence of a person is the first way you show respect to others. You probably wouldn't walk up to a stranger and say, "Hey! My name is Bob. Can I borrow your lawn mower?" You know intuitively that you don't ask for things until you've established a level of trust and relationship.

If you haven't established a casual level of trust and confidence in God, it's going to be difficult to ask him for things. Your prayer life is going to be dead and boring, because you know intuitively that it's not courteous to ask for things when you haven't established a relationship. Does this mean you should stop asking God for things? No! It means that you first need to start remembering your Creator. But how?

Walk through the day with your Creator.

When Karen and I take a walk, half the things we talk about are not related to where we are in our walk. We're talking about other things—kids, church stuff, and so on. The other half of the time is spent talking about the things that surround us: the bridge, the dog, and the geese. This is what really gets our conversation going.

You begin to remember your Creator simply by talking about your day with him. You don't have to have a long list of stuff to ask him; you can just start talking about what's on your mind that very moment. As you're driving to work, you may think, Man, this traffic really bums me out. But then you remember that God is there with you, so you say, "God, this traffic really bums me out. Can you do something about this?" You simply start a conversation. It doesn't sound all that devout, but you're sharing right where you are in that moment of your day.

When you get to the parking lot, maybe you're thinking, I need to make that phone call I've been avoiding, but I don't want to. Then you remember God is there with you, and you say, "God, I have to make this phone call. Can you help me with that? I'm going to make that call right now." You're remembering your Creator in the moment.

God doesn't have to be the period at the end of your day or the capital letter of the first word of your sentence; God can be the sentence that underlines your entire day. You remember your Creator when you start walking through your day with him. Once you've acknowledged God's presence on a daily basis and established a level of trust with him, you will feel that it's much more courteous when you ask him for something. It's more natural, and you're not afraid to do it.

I've wasted a lot of time beating myself up for having a pathetic prayer life, because I can't focus myself for a half hour each morning. If you can do that, great. If not, just pray about the stuff that comes into your day, all day long. What you will find gradually is that though it takes a little while to learn this skill, you will build a sense of God's presence all day long and find that you are able to ask about things that you never would have thought of in the morning. You can do this because you're in the moment with God.

Remember that we are creatures.

It's interesting that the writer of Ecclesiastes uses the word Creator. It's the only time the word is used in the entire book. He could have said, "Remember the Lord," "Remember God," or "Remember the Holy One;" but the writer says, "Remember your Creator." Why does he do that? Once you remember that you have a Creator, you remember that you are a creature—a created being. This is one thing we often forget. We must remember that we have a Creator.

Imagine that you're a baker, and you're making a batch of gingerbread people. As you pull them out of the oven and admire your creation, you wonder what it would be like if those gingerbread people could stand up, breathe, think, and interact with you. Let's say you have the power as creator to make that a reality, and soon the gingerbread people are alive and walking all over the countertop. When they look up at you, you say to them, "I am your creator!" The gingerbread people marvel at you, saying, "Wow! He's really big!" They even bow down before you. When they stand back up, you say to them, "I have a few things I want to tell you. I've always wondered what it would be like to have creatures who could interact with me." But just about that time, one of the bigger gingerbread people starts picking on one of the smaller ones. The little one looks up at you with his raisin eyes and says, "What [are you going to do to help me]?" Suddenly it occurs to you that these gingerbread people can do whatever they want, and they're not going to be kind to each other.

As you look at your creation, you realize that some of your gingerbread people resent the idea that you can tell them what to do. "We're free gingerbread people," they say. "We don't like accountability." Others look at you and say, "Wow! I was created!" You can't always tell who's with you and who's against you, so you decide to disappear. You think, If I hide myself, they won't be afraid that I'm watching over them all the time, and they'll show their true colors. So you step out of sight, and a rebellion takes place. Some of the gingerbread people say, "We knew it! There was no baker all along. We were fooled." They soon hold little rallies, crying, "We are now free gingerbread people! This whole myth of being created was made up to control us! We can do whatever we want!"

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the counter, there's a group of gingerbread people saying, "Hang on a minute here! We admit that we can't see the baker anymore—we can't taste him, touch him, smell him, or see him—but look at us: we're made of dough! How else could we think, reason, speak, sing, and write poetry? How could we do all of this without a baker? So even though we can't see him, we're pretty sure there's a baker. We're going to spend our lives seeking the baker to find out what he wants, because we are created. We are not our own. We owe everything to the baker!"

The minute you forget that you are created, you start down a road of independence that is the root of all evil. God says, "Remember your Creator." Remember that you are someone's masterpiece. Somebody made you; you are not your own.

In the New Testament, the story gets even better. The apostle Paul tells us that not only are we made in the image of God, but we're redeemed and purchased with his own blood. Paul says: You are not your own; you are God's, purchased by his Son.

What would it be like if I thought of myself as a creature—as belonging to someone else? On the one hand, it's sort of disappointing if you're a part of the gingerbread people who want to be independent. You think, I don't like the idea that I belong to somebody. I want to be free. But if you're the other kind of gingerbread person, you think, I am not independent; I am dependent. And since I belong to someone else, one day I'm going to have to answer to the baker.

Ecclesiastes 12:6 says, "Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well." All of that crushing, smashing, and breaking is a metaphor for your life coming to an end. It's like a pitcher falling off a shelf, shattering beyond the point of repair. The writer tells us to remember God before that happens.

He goes on to say: "And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it." The Hebrew word for spirit means "the breath of life." The author is saying that the breath of life God breathed into us goes back to the One who breathed it. As the author writes in verse 8: "Vanity of vanities … all is vanity!" A good paraphrase of that verse would be: Fleeting, fleeting! Everything is fleeting! If you try to hang on to something, it slips away. So remember your Creator while you still have the ability to remember.

This whole section of Ecclesiastes 12 talks about how our body starts to decline as we grow older—how our teeth are like grinders and our eyes are like windows that let the light in. It explains how our arms and legs grow weak, and our hearing begins to fail. In this context comes that great injunction in verse 6: Remember your Creator before the end.

The thought that I belong to somebody and am accountable for my actions puts me in my place. I feel like looking up to God and saying, "I'm sorry I forgot that you made me."


In Ecclesiastes 12:9, the author says that the teacher taught people knowledge. The teacher pondered many proverbs and then tried to write down his wisdom in delightful ways, so that the people could remember it.

The author says, "The words of wise men are like goads." When an animal stubbornly didn't want to move or got stuck in the mud, the shepherd would use a goad to poke the animal along—like how we use spurs when riding a horse. The Book of Ecclesiastes serves as a goad to us.

The author boils it all down to this: "Fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment." With this conclusion, we're right back where we started. What does the Creator do? The Creator creates things and holds his creation accountable. That may be distasteful to some people—whole kingdoms and philosophies have been launched to try to avoid that very simple thing—but we are accountable. As the text says: "God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil."

We don't get the final say in things. We just do what we can with what God gives us. We take risks; we live in the moment; we try things, because we don't know what's going to succeed. God makes very few promises about how things are going to turn out. He says: Just move ahead, do the right thing, and let me worry about the outcomes. In the end, I'm the only one you have to answer to—and no one else.

For your reflection:

Personal growth: How has this sermon fed your own soul?

Skill growth: What did this sermon teach you about how to preach?

Exegesis and exposition: Highlight the paragraphs in this sermon that helped you better understand Scripture. How does the sermon model ways you could provide helpful biblical exposition for your hearers?

Theological Ideas: What biblical principles in this sermon would you like to develop in a sermon? How would you adapt these ideas to reflect your own understanding of Scripture, the Christian life, and the unique message that God is putting on your heart?

Outline: How would you improve on this outline by changing the wording, or by adding or subtracting points?

Application: What is the main application of this sermon? What is the main application of the message you sense God wants you to bring to your hearers?

Illustrations: Which illustrations in this sermon would relate well with your hearers? Which cannot be used with your hearers, but they suggest illustrations that could work with your hearers?

Credit: Do you plan to use the content of this sermon to a degree that obligates you to give credit? If so, when and how will you do it? (For help on what may require credit, see "Plagiarism, Schmagiarism")

Dave McClellan is senior pastor of The Chapel at Tinkers Creek in Streetsboro, Ohio, and an adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University's Cleveland campus and at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School's Akron campus.

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Sermon Outline:


When you go a while without remembering your Creator, you function independently of him. God cares about that.

I. Walk through the day with your Creator.

II. Remember that we are creatures.


We do what we can with what God gives us. He says: Do the right thing, and let me worry about the outcomes. In the end, I'm the only one you have to answer to—and no one else.