temporal vanity

I hate being late. I’m not entirely sure where that sense of punctuality came from (my dad), but I have always hated to be late. But then I got married…and then we had kids…and now I sometimes find myself not necessarily being on time for a lot of things in my life. Some days I handle that well and some days my wife threatens to stab me with a horse tranquilizer. But my life for some strange reason has always been about time management and focusing on that therein. (This may be as a result of my constant procrastination) I always wear a wrist watch and have even toyed with the idea of a pocket-watch in the past. And I usually know about how long it’s going to take me to get to my next destination regardless of where I am in the day. Ask any of the parents of my senior high students as to whether or not we arrive on time from any trip and their response will always be yes (with the exception of one bathroom pit-stop just this last weekend). All this to say that you might even call me time obsessed…I don’t even have to use an alarm clock to wake-up in the morning. For those of you unfamiliar with this ability I offer up Kramer: (Only I never hit the snooze button) 

But it’s strange isn’t it. We have devised seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years based on the Earth’s tilt, rotation and revolution around the sun and this dictates every avenue of our life. It dictates our coming and our going. Our being and our doing. And it seemingly becomes soooo important. In fact, we get down-right obsessed with the tasks that effect our existence in this realm of space and time when if you stop to thing about it is….well, meaningless. The teacher in Ecclesiastes puts it this way, “For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:16-17) Vanity…chasing after the wind. This life is literally a vapor. And in the case of the teacher it is an extremely pessimistic view, but I am not sure that is what we need to have.

You see this life is really life lived into eternity. The problem is that if we simply focus on this life and the things in this temporal space then it does amount to vanity. But the apostle Paul has another take on the vanity of life and where it is corrected, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2) By focusing on the eternal in the temporal we not only validate the things we do, but they take on eternal significance. Or rather, those things that truly have no bearing on the eternal take on less significance. Setting our minds on Christ allows us to place the temporary trials, frustrations and even tasks of this life in their proper place…and sometimes it becomes vanity. But sometimes we find ourselves in those moments where we truly encounter each other and it is as if heaven itself is breaking in. So I seek out these moments instead. And I try not to focus so much on the watch on my wrist. And maybe if I am late, it is for the right reason. May we find significance in the time we’re given as we walk into eternity together.

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