So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”Joshua 4:4-7 NIV
After forty years of wandering through the wilderness, Israel was prepared to cross the Jordan River, and into the land that God had promised them. As they crossed, Joshua had them gather twelve stones from the bed of the Jordan and set them up as a permanent memorial. This memorial would be to remind them of their crossing the Jordan on dry ground. And something that would prompt conversation from their children and others who came later.
This idea of a memorial is found several times in the Scripture. The Passover meal was an annual memorial of their departure from Egypt (Deut. 16:3). And the Lord’s Supper is also a memorial meal (1 Cor. 11:23-26). Memorial stones can be beneficial to us if they do indeed help us to remember and not just become empty rituals. Whether they are displayed privately, publicly, or are only cherished memory, memorials can keep us grounded.
My memorial stone is a memory that I keep and share to this day. It is what happened to me when I surrendered my life to Christ. There was nothing spectacular or flashy about the event. But there is no denying the difference it made in my desires as an 18-year-old man, leaving home to join the navy. It is a frequent reminder to me of what God has done for me. And I share it with people who ask me why I believe in God. For me, the most significant proof is the transformation he brought about in my life.
If you do not have a memorial stone in your life, I would encourage you to set one up to help you remember what God has done for you.