Do you think that what you are doing will last forever? Maybe. Do you think that your importance in this world will never fade?
We sometimes can be quite taken with our "place in the sun." Our egocentricities surely can get us into blurred perspective if we are not careful. However, if we are wise, we will realize our mortality. In that is our liberation.
This planet is sketched with monuments displaying individuals' titles. There are plenty of name plaques, marble-this-n-that, and self-important statues ensconced around the globe.
But one of these days, they all will be gone-disappeared-every one of them.
The Scriptures assure us that this worldly sphere is temporary. (". . .earth shall pass away. . ." (Matthew 24:35)) Only eternity is forever.
Take a walk through a nearby cemetery. Think of those who once lived-aches and pains, bills paid, celebrations, children born to them, bankruptcies, ecstasies, and then death. Scan one of those stones marked with a human's name on it from a previous century. Does anyone alive even know that that mortal laughed, struggled, then breathed her last?
What then is it that can last forever as far as your influence-your ego worth-is concerned?
Rel lives near our elderly neighbor, Bob, whose health is failing. Bob has no wife, no children, no living relative and very few friends. He spends most of his time in his cottage-very much alone except for his cats.
So Rel sees to it, among other kindnesses, that Bob gets to the store for groceries, is driven to doctor appointments, and mails his packages at the post office. Sometimes she treats Bob to a pastry with coffee.
Yet Rel is not related to Bob in any way. She does not have to be gracious to him. There is no obligation whatsoever for her to go out of her way to watch over this growing-older gent. Yet she does.
Why? Because Rel is a believer. And because Jesus is real to her, she seeks to serve Jesus by serving others. She can best show her love for God by caring for someone else in Jesus' name.
What Rel does for Bob will last forever. Her gracious gestures will outlast both her and Bob's earthly stay.
Jesus spoke of those grace children who visit the lonely in prison, give food to the hungry, cloth the naked and give drink to the thirsty. Jesus called such ones His "lambs."
"I was a stranger and you took me in," Jesus said (Matthew 15:43). But more-Jesus went on to elaborate that "inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).
Jesus is God Forever. Whatever is done in Jesus' name is eternally recognized by Him. In that, kindnesses offered for His praise are lifted into the everlasting. In that, such loving gifts outlast us, time and all of history.
Your "place in the sun" is to be found in Jesus. If you are smart, you will realize that your ego worth here is to be wrapped up in serving the Forever God. If it is, then what you are doing and why you are here will last into the eternities. All else-everything-will fade away.
One of Julius Caesar's successors as Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, got the message: "Perhaps the desire of the fleeting thing called fame torments you. See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the fickleness and lack of judgment in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of its domain, and be quiet at last."
Smart fellow, that Marcus.
And so then "be quiet" in service to the Ever Jesus who enfolds your kindnesses into His eternal home.
J. Grant Swank Jr.