We drive by them daily, maybe thousands of times, but don’t even know what they say or why they are there.

As a culture, we place value on marking graves with marble headstones as memorials to our loved ones. We visit battlefields that are covered with memorials honoring valiant soldiers. We go to church and observe communion as a memorial to Jesus Christ. We pass plaques on walls placed in honor of services rendered. A lady goes to her jewelry boxes and selects a special pennant worn by her great-grandmother which now holds special family memories.

Memorials surround us everyday! It is no surprise we have a “Memorial Day.” We live with memorials. But we treat most memorials the way we do the day, we occupy ourselves with our present pursuits and barely stop to notice or consider the purpose of the memorials. Truth be told, we don’t even know who most of them are a memorial too. So what is the purpose of memorials?

Memorials have three important purposes. First, memorials are necessary because we need to know history. Memorials keep us from forgetting, at least that is their purpose! Present and future generations need to know the story. The story behind the memorial is worth telling and should not be forgotten! They are reminders!

Second, memorials call us to gratefulness and thanksgiving. We are drinking out of wells we did not dig! Memorial Day should be a day of thanksgiving!

Third, memorials are necessary because we are motivated to live differently in the present. Memorials remind us that freedom isn’t free! Memorials motivate us to carry on family legacies, fulfill our duty in the present for the future, and live God-fearing, honorable lives. You can’t visit national memorials, family cemeteries, or partake communion as a memorial to Christ without being changed. You remember, reflect, and are inspired to be better!

Let us pause and give attention to the memorials all around us. Memorials teach us our history, inspire us to gratefulness, and motivate us to better lives.

Josh Ketchum preaches at Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield.

Josh Ketchum preaches at Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield.