My company has experienced tumultuous times over the last couple of years. Our department has diminished to a handful of hard-working employees. In the last few months we lost two long-time and heavily-invested people who were once deemed critical to the company’s success. There was fear that one of these individuals might leave the company: fear that their knowledge and expertise would not be easily replaced. As it turns out, the loss of those “key” employees was barely noticeable. I will leave the company one day, and I will be forgotten, too.
Neil (The Walking Concordance) and I were watching a documentary about the Sphinx statue in Egypt recently. It is believed the pyramids of Egypt, and the Sphinx, are physical legacies of the pharaohs or kings that commissioned them. These works were purposed as part of the conveyance from a physical life to the after-life. The Sphinx is a phenomenal example of human effort and commitment. At 150 feet long, it was once the largest statue in the world. The statue has been slowly disintegrating because underground water is drawn up into the rock layers and pushed out to the surface, causing pieces of the statue to fall off. While there isn’t much information available , after many years of investigation, research and analysis, the experts believe they have narrowed the list of potential “owners” to Khafre (2558-2532 BC), his brother, or his father. Or perhaps another relative.
It’s been over 4,000 years since the thing was carved out of the desert, and we still aren’t certain who created it. Standing for 4 millennia is quite an accomplishment; for being remembered, it seems the Sphinx was inadequate. Much newer examples of these kinds of monuments are listed at http://www.touropia.com/largest-statues-in-the-world, including several created in the last 20 years.
We humans act like our presence on the planet is something to be noticed, remembered, even memorialized. As if our life here on earth is eternal. Mankind has long been enamored with the concept of eternal life. As we learned from countless historians and archeologists over many years, many previous civilizations had rituals and belief systems supporting their desire for eternal life. Why?
“… He has put eternity into man’s heart…” Ecclesiastes 3:11
I have a particular fondness for Ecclesiastes. Mostly because it feels like I lived many of the things the Preachers calls “vanities”. I know what he meant. “Vanity” is about the kindest word one could use to describe a life apart from God. I assume smart people figure it out by reading Ecclesiastes and relying on common sense. Knuckleheads insist on testing it. My assessment: the Preacher nailed it. Apart from God, it’s all temporary, and it’s all goofy.
Earthly life is temporary. When I was young, that troubled me. Now… I see it is brilliant. I’ve seen too much, done too much, drank too much, mourned too much, wept too much, sinned too much, spent too much. As Bruce Springsteen sings, “I’m tired and bored with myself.” What is advertised as “the good life” is – at best – a temporary forgetfulness of the daily trudging assigned to man. Vanity. Like the crumbling Sphinx.
“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16
The world will not remember us, but God will. And does.
“… and God remembered His covenant with Abraham…” Exodus 2:24
“But God remembered Noah…” Genesis 8:1
“…God remembered Abraham…” Genesis 19:29
“then God remembered Rachel…” Genesis 30:22
“The Lord has remembered us…” Psalm 115:12
“… and the Lord remembered her.” 1 Samuel 1:19
“…I certainly still remember him;” Jeremiah 31:20
Time is fleeting. And sometimes feels like it is fleeing, as well. We know this ride will end. And our hearts insist on something more than this temporal existence, something eternal, and holy. It can’t be found, except in a relationship with God Himself.
“The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around Him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes before Him
and burns up His adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim His righteousness,
and all the peoples see His glory.” Psalm 97:1-6