Something That Lasts

When we were little, my brother and I would play with our toy soldiers around an old pond in the woods behind our house. I wasn’t content to simply limit myself to combat against him in miniature battle scenarios, no, I had to build a city next to the pond complete with a dock and warehouses. When the water level fell on the old pond, it wasn’t a problem – I’d use an old coffee can to scoop either a river or a channel to my city and the dock would be back in service. My brother would build a city of his own, and I in turn would add onto or build a new city. This went on until the next big rain would happen to come along. The small cities would be inundated and we would have to start all over; our engineering feats washed away on the breath of a sudden summer thunderstorm.

Years later I moved to New York City, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog. As a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, I was stationed on Governor’s Island in the middle of New York Harbor. Each morning I would look out my window at the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, seemingly right outside my door. Actually, they were. I’ve noticed in most of my pictures I took while on the island, they appear to be always visible and looming in the background. My friends and I made quite a few trips to the towers during my stay in New York, as there were several shops located in the conclaves below them. Today I still find it very hard to comprehend that they are no longer there, standing a stoic watch over the small island I used to call home. The two sentinels that were once the symbol of our Nation’s financial power and fiscal might are gone today, washed away by a different type of storm – a storm of violence perpetrated by the soul-less hatred of others who would seek to steal, kill, and destroy.

Jesus and His followers arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover. The building most revered and held in esteem by the Jewish nation at the time was the temple, and they were very pretentious about it. The Bible tells us that His disciples were quick to proudly show Jesus all of the buildings of the temple complex. Jesus’ reply to them was, “See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” I’ve pondered that verse many times, and I do not think Jesus was simply bashing the temple or chiding His disciples due to their obvious pride in a building. Jesus, as He always did, was only telling the truth about what was going to happen in the future. Sure enough, forty years later (around 70 AD) the Roman General Titus conquered Jerusalem and completely destroyed the temple.

The things of earth are temporal in nature, and subject to fail or fall. A wise man once said, “Man proposes and God disposes.” Yet we as mere mortals do our best to make things permanent and still attempt to test our fate by hitching our wagon to whatever star beguiles us at the moment. Do you think I’m wrong here? If so, then what is the purpose of ‘Life Insurance’? Seriously. I have a policy myself and it gives me great peace of mind to know that should I take a celestial dirt-nap my loved ones will – hit the jackpot upon my demise. My life insurance policy will be a testament to me once I am gone, and my children will remember me graciously – good ‘ole dad! Though I’ll be gone, I will live on in their hearts for many years to come, or at least each time they spend some of the money. Call that life insurance policy my own pyramid rising above the arid desert of a life I tried to live with the best of my abilities. Do tell.

Time has a nasty habit of washing away everything we labor for in the end. If not time, then calamities and natural disasters are sure to take their toll. And then there are also moths and eventual rust and decay that we must take into consideration. Throw in man-made disasters (terrorist attacks?) and you have a recipe for nothing to remain constant. So what is it all for, these things we do here during our time on earth? Will a bigger life insurance policy help? How about a revolving endowment fund to some university or orphanage in our name?

Jesus tells us: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

There it is. Something that will pass the test of time and pay dividends to those who follow the guidelines He has set for us. If I hitch my wagon to treasures that are only available in Heaven, I need not worry about summer storms nor other disasters in this life. It's all about where your heart is.

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