The town I live in when I am in the States is undergoing a makeover of sorts. As you drive down the main thoroughfare leading into the old downtown, on the left side of the street there are bulldozers and cranes, heavy duty trucks, and a handful of people cleaning up the rubble of what once was.
Since I’ve been living in Watertown Wisconsin on and off for the past nine years, I remember the glory days of what once stood on that spot. There was a major chain clothing store that some years ago moved outside the city limits, a small shop that sold greeting cards of all kinds, and a camera store. If one drove by today, you would never know those edifices once stood in what is now a large square of scarred cement and concrete.
The buildings had stayed empty for some time, until one day as I was driving in to work I saw the bulldozers and the wrecking ball hard at work.
By the time I got the idea to stand across the street every day and take a snapshot of the progress, to see the march of time and the steady destruction of what was once a thriving business it was already too late.
For some reason seeing those buildings disappear before my very eyes on a daily basis made me sad inside. Apparently all it takes for the memory of a place to forever be erased is some heavy duty equipment and a few gallons of diesel fuel. Who will remember that once upon a time a clothing store stood on that very spot two generations from now? Who will reminisce about the time some long forgotten relative bought their first camera at the camera store that once stood there? No one!
We build empires of dust with every passing generation, refusing to acknowledge that the winds of time will blow them asunder sooner or later. We labor and we toil for things that have no permanence, believing that we will leave our mark on the world if we can just amass so much, and build so much. Although the words of Solomon have proven themselves true, that all is vanity, we do not take them to heart, and follow in the footsteps of those that came before us thinking that we will be the exception to the rule, that we will somehow cling to that which we have amassed beyond this life.
Even among the children of God there seems to be little contentment. We want more and more, and we don’t care how we get it. We dismiss the warnings of God’s Word that love of possessions rather than love of God leads to ruination, believing that we will find a balance between desiring God and desiring material things. There can be no balance; there can be no armistice between two opposing forces so hostile toward each other such as love of God and love of flesh. We either love God, or we love the world. We are either content and thankful for that which He gives us, or we give ourselves over to the lust for power and opulence, that the world has elevated to an art form.
Sooner or later every man comes to the conclusion that Solomon came to, that in fact all the works of our hands and all our labors are vanity and vexation of spirit. There is someone close to me; in fact he is family by marriage who recently came to this conclusion. Ever since I married my wife he didn’t quite understand what I did, and why I didn’t try to build to amass, to hoard and to store up.
Whenever this particular topic of conversation would come up, I would ask him, ‘why should I try to store up and build? I’m not taking any of it with me anyway.’
‘So you could be happy’ he would answer.
‘But I’m already happy’ I would retort.
Some years ago, this man started a company that went on to do very well. He built the big house, bought the fancy new car, and during dinner in his new home one night I asked him, ‘so did all this bring you the happiness you were looking for?’
He gave me a sad look and said, ‘not even close.’
True joy, lasting joy, that ever illusive happiness the world is searching for can only be found in Christ, at the foot of the cross, in humble gratitude and submission. This world is passing away, and every generation builds upon the rubble of the last, reaching ever higher, hoping to acquire that which can only be acquired on our knees in worshipful supplication.
If you know Jesus you are already blessed beyond measure, having acquired that which is priceless and eternal. If you do not know Jesus, then no matter how much material possessions you might have acquired, you are still a lamentable soul worthy of pity, for all that you possess will not be able to lengthen your life by one second, or give you that sense of fulfillment you are so desperately searching for.
It is human nature to desire more, to want to possess, to own, to have, but our nature has been transformed and we are no longer the slaves of human nature, but have attained a divine nature that knows intuitively that our treasure is not of this earth, nor is this our home.
We journey toward eternity, toward the home that Christ has prepared for us, and though the world continues to build empires of dust, as children of God we must continue to keep our eyes on the kingdom that is to come, that kingdom that is eternal and everlasting.
Jeremiah 17:11, “As a partridge that broods but does not hatch, so is he who gets riches but not by right; It will leave him in the midst of his days, and at his end he will be a fool.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.