We will all have difficult days. Our family is facing some these days. When death is close, one becomes very retrospective with their life- even if they are not the one in the process of dying. As I have watched people come in and out of the hospital room of my Mother-In-Love, I have heard wonderful stories. She is remembered for being a phenomenal woman- full of love and compassion, with a heart of gold who would give you whatever you need. My mind has thought often of Proverbs 31:30, where it says
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
If all my Mother-In-Love had was charm, well, she would have fooled a lot of people. Even today, I was looking at pictures of the vibrant woman she was, only a few months ago. Cancer has taken a toll on her body. However, she loved her Jesus, and she feared (respected) Him, and because of that, in these difficult days, she is being praised.
These thoughts have rolled through my mind as I have taken a look this week at Ecclesiastes 12:1-8.
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 ESV)
Many people wait for old age to come to know Jesus. They don’t want to surrender their LIVES to Him, so they wait. First, waiting is never good, because none of us are promised tomorrow. However, that is not the only reason we shouldn’t wait. When we look back on our life, we want it to be with fond memories, and a life well lived. Life without God will produce a lonely, bitter, and hopeless end. I am so thankful this isn’t the story I am watching unfold with my MIL. She has lived her life centered on the things of the Lord- and because of that, even in these last days, there are satisfying and wonderful moments, because there is hope of eternal life. Cancer has caused her to not be able to enjoy life- yet, the best is yet to come for her! This reminds me that my focus doesn’t need to be on the here and now- the pleasures of youth, but to keep my eyes focused on Heaven and the eternal. The pleasures of this earth and our “youth” are fleeting and passing and don’t always have eternal value. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things that we do, and should continue to do, that bring us pleasure. Yet, we need to keep the purpose of our life focused on God. Especially in a time of life where we have so much energy, time and resources to give.
When we look at verses 6, we see things that are fragil- a golden bowl broken, a pitcher that is shattered, or a wheel broken- and we are no different then that. We are all frail. Our currant bodies are not eternal. Death comes easily to us as frail humans. As verses seven says, we can quickly become dust. Life is a precious resource – and we are stewards of it! We need to use it!
Put your right hand over your heart. Do you feel that thump? If you do- you still have purpose. Even my MIL, who is currently unresponsive, has a heart beat. Her purpose isn’t done. No, she may never speak another word – but through her life, and yes, even her death, we are still learning. Her story is still being written by her loving Creator. God gave us our spirits- and to God they will return- when He takes them. We must put God first in all that we do, or like verses 8 says, it is all vain. Without God’s purpose- our work is done in vain. Without His love- our work is in vain. Life without God is lived in vain. Today, look beyond the mundane, and look to the eternal, and move forward with purpose. You….have….purpose!
Worshiping With My Life,