After performing a quick life expectancy Google search, Wikipedia claims that the average American man is expected to live 76.9 years. This claim has shown me that my life is passed the halfway mark. Although the statistics show this, no one can say for sure how long any of us will live.
Some of the earliest memories that I have are of my mothers’ parents and their home. My birth parents had a home of their own at the time, but early on within my life, they had split apart. Our home was also torn apart. I can honestly say that my grandparents were the ones who reared me, as well as my grieving mother. I spent most of my time growing up in their peaceful home, and much of that time was spent with my retired grandfather.
My grandpa was in his seventies when the Lord decided it was time for me to come along. The early memories of him are pleasant ones. I learned how to use my hands through his teaching, crafting useful things. I learned how to chop firewood. How to fish. I would hop in his old pick-up truck and go on little trips with him. Just a run to the grocery was a thing that he had done hundreds of times, but to me it was an adventure. Those happy memories are of great value to me, and I hope that my aging mind will always be able to recall them.
As I grew older, my grandparents were growing older as well. They really started to slow down. My grandpa was spending more time just sitting around. He had an old metal chair that he used to sit in outside of his home. He would drag it around the backyard, and position it within the changing shaded areas throughout the day. Sometimes, he would sit it next to a fire pit area, and watch the paper items from his trash burn in the fire. I recall him drinking an occasional beer in the chair. Reading the newspaper. Sometimes I would peek through the back door of their porch and see another chair pulled up alongside his, with another gentleman gabbing away with him. At other times, I would just see him sitting, doing nothing but staring off into the depths. I often wondered what he was thinking about? He was growing older, and the energy just wasn’t there anymore. He was nearing the end of his life. My grandfather lived to be ninety-three years old.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
I will always appreciate my experiences with the people who are no longer with me. I have lost both of my grandparents on both my mother and father’s side. I have lost many good friends. My best bud died from a broken heart. Friends have died from overdoses. A good man I once knew died after accidentally shooting himself. As much as it hurts, everyone dies. Also, everything passes away. My grandfather’s body died. The chair rusted and fell apart. The paper from the trash, and the chopped firewood from the dead tree was burned. The ashes returned to the earth. The mind fades, the memories are not guaranteed, and the life ends.
We journey through this life searching for things that make us happy. The memories of my grandparents have made me very happy. The lessons learned, and the emotions experienced are a great part of this life of mine. Although, all of these things that have, do and will bring happiness, pass away. We place so much hope in the people, places and things of the world, and we try to squeeze an everlasting joy out of the temporary.
We cannot and will not find everlasting joy in the temporary. When the things that we try to construct into a lasting joy pass away, what do we do then?
I may be wrong, but the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 have shown me the importance of placing my hope in things not of the world, where “moth and rust destroy,” but in things of His eternal promise. “Treasures in heaven.” The place where my troubles, as well as the death of the temporary, has no place. A place where I believe many of the people we have lost within this short time on earth, now dwell. The everlasting joy in a temporary world, where all things pass away, is found in Jesus Christ. The relationship with Him, and a growing understanding of His Word is the way to everlasting joy in the temporary world, and the eternal world to come. You may not understand that, as I did not for many years, but the more time spent with Him reveals His truths.
As we grow older, may we understand that all things will pass away. May we also understand that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, the eternal is part of who we are. Happiness can be temporarily found in this life, but lasting joy can only be found in Christ.
Thanks be to God and Jamell Adams of Kingdom Citizenship for inspiration in today’s writing.