Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Home Sweet Home

"Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names" —Psalm 49:11

A few years ago Carolyn and I bought two lots at Dry Creek Cemetery, a wind-swept hill overlooking the city of Boise. One for me and one for her. Mine is about 4’ wide and 8' long—32 square feet in all. I laid down on it—much to Carolyn's chagrin—to see if I fit. I did. Just barely. It Isn't much to see, but it's mine.

Some people acquire vast estates and some have lands named after them, like Amerigo, Vespucci, but it occurs to me that the only piece of real estate any of us will ever truly "own" is our grave. Not much to show for a lifetime of effort.

That's the problem with a "this world" perspective. No matter what you acquire or accomplish in this life you can't take it with you. As Israel's poet put it, you die and "leave everything to others"  (49:10). This calls for "understanding” (49:3,20), knowledge that there is another dimension of reality, an unseen realm in which earthly notions of the good life are irrelevant. This present world is tangible but transient; the unseen world is forever and forever. It's toward that invisible, eternal realm that our predominant thoughts, time and energy must go. That's what it means to "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." Everything else is a wasting asset—an investment that will  inexorably and irreversibly decline in value over time.

I'm reminded here of a story I heard years ago about a stock broker that encountered a genie who granted the obligatory wish. "A copy of the Wall Street Journal one year hence," the man replied. Thereupon, paper in hand, he turned to the market report for that day anticipating a killing. But his eye fell first on his picture on the opposite page accompanied by his obituary. The killing he anticipated was his own.

David Roper

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