My family and I were taking a relaxing, Sunday stroll through the graveyard this past weekend, talking and laughing, as we always do, when I noticed a gravestone that stood out to me. The back of it read:
“Just call me Joey.”
I purposely didn’t look at the front, because I didn’t want to know any more about this guy. It’s more fun if it’s a mystery, because I can make up my own stories about him. He seemed cool, like somebody you could sit with on the front porch, sipping lemonade and talking about the weather.
Then I looked behind the gravestones, and noticed a couple of new houses being built, and was once again reminded:
“Death catches up with all of us.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3 NIRV)
Trying to better ourselves and make a more comfortable existence for our family are both wonderful. Losing ourselves in these pursuits, though, and pouring all our heart, mind, spirit and effort in storing up treasures here on Earth is just “chasing after the wind,” as King Solomon said. It’s folly.
Sure, work hard, buy a new car, build your house, or try and get a bigger apartment. Great, those things are wonderful, but is this all you’re living for? If so, your possessions will someday mean nothing. The love of “stuff” will leave you empty; maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.
“Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none.”
Richard DeVos (1926-2018) Billionaire Businessman
I’ve found joy in pursuing God, chasing after love, trying to do good in this life and doing all I can to help others. That’s the only true “bliss” I’ve found.
My family have dedicated our entire lives to this ideal. My wife works for Convoy of Hope, a Christian-based, humanitarian organization. I work for Global University, a distance-education facility which trains people for the ministry. I mainly work with undergraduate students and prisoners.
We both have invested our lives in helping others, and bettering humanity. Our daughter followed this example and is a Registered Nurse, working with cancer patients. Our son is pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy, hoping to help people get back on their feet after pain and physical setbacks.
We have dedicated our whole lives to making this world a little brighter place, and in this pursuit, we’ve discovered happiness.
For, we must keep in mind, “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.” (1 Corinthians 15:22 NLT)
I’ve been blessed to have accompanied my wife on ministry trips to some amazing locales. Places where the cars cost more than our house. Where palm trees grace the parking lot, and rich folks require special treatment.
I love getting out of town, same as anyone else, but the key is to not get hung up on expensive cars, lavish houses and exotic meals. At the end of the day, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39:6-7 NLT)
On our most recent trip, it came to my attention that people in a certain plush neighborhood named their estates. It wasn’t just an address, it was, “The Green Cottage,” “Eagle’s Nest,” or “Swallowcliff Manor.”
Seriously, if this is where you are in life, and you’re truly happy, then congratulations. For the rest of us, however, I’d like to encourage you by suggesting we store up treasures in Heaven. You do this by simply following Christ, and helping others.
It’s not easy, as they say, but it IS worth it.
“Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave. Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals.” (Psalm 49:8-12 NLT)