"But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found." Psalm 37:36
We live in a culture consumed with what celebrities are doing on a day to day basis. Whether they are "hitting and running" in their Bentley's and Benz's, making fools out of themselves at award shows, or puffing themselves up through tabloids (even bad publicity is good publicity), we can't get enough celebrity gossip. We are so consumed with the world of celebrities that the news now lets us know what our favorite actors, actresses and socialites are eating, where they're partying and how they travel just as often as we hear the weather or traffic. The only thing we may hear more about than celebrities is the state of the current economy (which we've turned into a celebrity idol) and what our President (who is as big of a celebrity as it gets) is going to do to make sure his health care plan goes through. Even more nauseating is the thought that we honestly think other people care what we're doing via twitter or Facebook status updates as we rap off where we're eating, what weights we're lifting and how the purchase of a new toy is making our day. What does it say about our culture that we spend so much time thinking about ourselves and yet nobody can seem to "get it together" as depression and suicide runs rampant even for the "upper class" who according to the world's teaching are always happy because they have money, fame and notoriety (even if it's within smaller circles). Then, in order to like ourselves better, we do the humble thing and we make ourselves part of the most "cause" oriented generation in history. Of course, as we stand around talking about how we're going to change the world, the status of the human soul has grown darker and darker as it becomes more in love with the character it is making itself to be. As Leo Tolstoy once said, "Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself."
Today's passage of Scripture is a great reminder that no matter who you are, or how well you're known eventually you will be gone, and the people who once aimed to follow you, will no longer be able to find you. You see, we need to constantly be reminded that no matter how great we are in the present realm, unless we do something that can last for eternity, our life is "a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14) I don't know why we act as though we'll live forever, but clearly there's one thing that will certainly happen to everyone that has been born...we will die. I know we like to turn celebrities (this includes actors, actresses, musicians, sports figures, TV personalities and even Pastors and authors to us in Christian circles) into God type figures and our President into the Messiah, but one day, you can take this to the bank (the only thing you may have taken there in a while), every person on this Earth will cease to live and unless they've done something that builds up God's Kingdom eternally. This means that even they're greatest works on Earth will be forgotten at some point. So what can we do that will be seen forever? One of my favorite little poems out of the book "Don't Waste Your Life" by Jon Piper says it best, "Only one life twill soon be passed, Only what’s done for Christ will last."
When it came to living a life for eternity, Jesus of Nazareth was the expert. One day after making himself known to be the "Messiah" to his followers two of his disciples asked if they would sit with him in his glory (of course bringing them heavenly celebrity status) to which they were told that this life is not about getting what we can for us while we're here. Instead, Jesus stated "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." The way for us to do something for eternity is then twofold. The first thing is that we must not only accept Jesus for what He did, but also for who He is. Without recognizing that Jesus is God incarnate (see Colossians 1:15 and 2 Corinthians 4:4 as well as numerous other places), we are unable to grasp that the person we are following, though like us in the way he lived, is actually the "exact image" of the invisible God. Once we realize how bad the Creator of the Universe wants a relationship with us, and that the way to that relationship is by His grace through the death and resurrection of Christ, we can never get to the second part of making an impact that will last forever.
The second part to living a life that will echo into eternity is not by becoming a celebrity, puffing up ourselves by obtaining higher positions, a greater following or more money. It's not by dumping what we already have in terms of marriage in exchange for a more beautiful husband or wife and the perfect kids. The second part to living a life in which we will be "found" even after we're gone is to live a life of service. Like Jesus said, He came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Personally, I have to be reminded of this daily as I, like the rest of the world desire to be known for things other than being one of God's children by the death and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, by becoming a true follower of Christ through the acceptance and belief in who He truly is, and then letting His Spirit fill you so that you may take on the personality of Christ that aims to serve others, you will be making an eternal impact on humanity.
I don't know why it's so hard sometimes to take Jesus at His word and begin loving others they way we love ourselves. I'm guessing that the reason for our lack of action in this way is due to the fact that we haven't died to our own ideas, agendas, dreams and aspirations in exchange for God's perfect plan for us. As we are reminded in Scripture of how short our lives are, and that the only way to truly live is by believing in and following Jesus Christ, we must come to realize that a life lived to glorify ourselves is not only shallow but literally worthless. Today, like every day you can choose to do something to fix the temporary or you can let go of yourself enough to affect the eternal. The beauty of course in this decision is that you are given the free will to decide, just another way God shows His love for us.