Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Are You Accomplishing?

Psalm 127:1-5

A Song of degrees for Solomon

“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

God created the heaven and the earth as we are told in Genesis 1.  In the process, he established the laws or principles of nature, the Laws of Science, which govern how everything in the universe works.  Colossians 1:16-17 focuses on this aspect of creation.  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” 

Everything that exists today exists because of those laws or principles he has established.   All human accomplishments have been achieved by combining those principles in different ways, using the things God created, including the invention of the atomic bomb, the landing on the moon, the invention of the computer, genetically modified organisms, or the founding of the United States or any other country.   Unfortunately, because they have succeeded at some things, people often begin to ignore God’s principles in an effort to accomplish something.    Such efforts will still follow those natural laws, unless God intervenes.  As a result of ignoring those principles bridges and buildings have collapsed, spaceships have crashed, and governments throughout history have collapsed. 

Because he made those laws, God is able to use them in ways humans have never imagined, to accomplish his purpose.  He is also able to suspend or change them if he sees fit.  As a result, our success in any endeavor is totally dependent on God enabling us to succeed.  Without his help, ee cannot even maintain what we have built.  The watchman will not be able to protect the city, for example, even though he was on guard.

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)

It is a waste of time for a person to become a workaholic, burning the candle at both ends to make more money.  They sacrifice their health, and family and spiritual relationships to satisfy their pride and greed.  I Timothy 6:7-10 advises to focus on the exact opposite.   “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.   And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  The price for gaining wealth and power is too high in terms of health and happiness.  

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3-6)

President Obama has been concerned about his legacy as president.  Despite his efforts, He has no control over his legacy.  Ecclesiastes 2:15-16 makes this clear.  “Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.  For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.  Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.  Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.  And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.”  What happens to the things we have worked for will depend on the whims of the person who takes our place.   Our accomplishments may not survive even a few hours. 

The only real legacy are the children we leave behind.  In addition to our DNA, they carry the attitudes and philosophies they learned from us, passing them along to the next generation.  The things our children learn from us are the arrows we send into the future.  If properly trained, they will make it better.  If not they will make it worse.  We shape those arrows.  .    Young parents get more time to spend with their children over the years, so they can teach them more and better prepare them to live in the world as they see the struggles their parents go through.  Children born later in the parent’s life miss that opportunity.  In addition, as we age, we become less able keep up with and enjoy our children. 

What could be a greater blessing than having successful, happy and well behaved children?  They are the legacy we leave behind.   Our focus will determine how that legacy turns out.  Why waste our time on things that matter very little?

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