I think the writer of Psalm 90 must have been a homeowner. He seems to capture the futility of fighting the eventual decay of everything when he writes, “A thousand years in your sight is like a watch in the night… they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning and in the evening fades and withers… The span of our lives is only toil and trouble…” These words of the Psalmist remind me of something my son said to me once: “Why clean? It’s just going to get dirty again.” “How true,” I agreed, “but clean anyway…”
There is nothing more dispiriting than going back to a job it seems like you just did – painting a door, patching the sidewalk, cleaning the garage (all jobs currently on my “to do” list) – only to discover things have already fallen back into a state of disrepair. Looking around my own house at some of the work waiting for me, it’s not hard to imagine how things might look in a few years, or decades, if simply left alone. There’s even a television show on the History Channel called Life After People that seeks to show how quickly nature would regain control if people were to suddenly disappear. Their conclusion? It wouldn’t take long.
Things wear out. If you’ve ever owned a home or a car for any length of time, you know that. That is why it is never wise to put all our trust in material things. “Stuff” will disappoint us every time. It “withers and fades,” in the words of the Psalmist. And the same is true of our bodies. The older we get, the more we begin to feel as though our own bodies have betrayed us somewhere along the line. “Wither and fade” can refer to much more than just the items on our household “to do” list.
Isaiah 40:8 reads, “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.” I like that promise. It puts things in perspective. It makes me wonder if I’m investing in things eternal or simply battling the inevitable. Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” Having a perfect house and all the right “stuff” will only get us so far. Even beaming good health is only for a season. In the end it’s all “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”
I once heard someone say the only things we really get to keep are the things we give away. Have you checked the balance in your eternal bank account lately?