Late summer at the ranch is a time of death. Not the type of death that bucolically leads to beautiful regeneration, but stark and irredeemable death. Brown and dead vegetation, bare dirt, and dried up ponds are a few of the signs that life once flourished there, but gave way to death. This is our life apart from the life of Christ. It is Ecclesiastes 1:1-12:12, where “…vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccl 1:2) describes the whole of our lives if we live apart from that which gives us true and lasting life – “Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Eccl 12:13).
This is not merely a warning for the unbeliever. In the opening statements of the book of James, written to believers, James states, “…For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass, and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.”
If you are reading this, it means that you most likely have a computer and/or smart phone. You have access to nearly all that is known by man in this universe. You have an education to be able to read. You are rich. And all the things that we do in this worldly life with those riches – the comforts, the leisures, the entertainments, the things bought to impress, will fade away as quickly and surely as grass in 100 degree heat.
So what are we to do? We, as an American church – on average destitute of whole-hearted surrender to the Lord – must heed the warnings to the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-19. God does not give them participation awards because they say, “God bless you” to the checker at the store, know any secret handshakes of doctrine, or throw a few coins to a homeless individual. He says:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot…Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself…”
May we individually, and as the bride of Christ throw all of our efforts – every single one – into buying from the Lord gold refined by fire and white garment to clothe ourselves.
Then, although our physical lives will fade away as the grass, we will have laid a brick in God’s eternal kingdom.
For we know “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Pet 1: 24-25).