“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ―Martin Luther
Our baby daughter is at it again, tearing down the block-built towers of the older kids. I’m sorry, kids. She needs to be in here now and there’s no keeping her from the blocks for the moment.
One of them stays and keeps building. Why? He builds high towers, enjoys them for their moment, then sighs as they crash down.
Here is a window into life. If you have imbibed Ecclesiastes, perhaps you’ve already thought of where this is going.
The pattern of life is pretty simple. Nothing you build lasts. Everything is fleeting. Life is super-duper hard. As Wesley says in The Princess Bride, “Get used to disappointment.”
Life is a vapor, a tower built with loving care which crashes down before its time. The writer of Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth, gives us the futile cycle in poetic detail. He tells us tales of unremembered greatness, of fortunes passed to fools, of spending all your life digging a magnificent hole that becomes a grave you are buried in –then forgotten.
And he has some advice for you, given these facts that don’t often make it into a Prosperity Heretic’s sermon.
Enjoy your life. Enjoy your wine, your wife, and your work. Enjoy your daily bread. Only God can give you joy.
Build your tower with gladness. It will certainly crash, and there’s a good chance you’ll be buried in the rubble.
So, be happy while the sun shines and build on.
“Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.”
(Ecclesiastes 11:7-10, ESV)
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This is the third of a little series called Blockpile Meditations. These are loosely-related, short posts you should feel no pressure to read. But if you wish to, here’s the first and here, predictably, is the second. Thanks, friends. -Sam