A few years ago, I had some old dead trees cut down in my front yard. Everything was clear for the trees to fall except an old birdbath built by my Grandpa Cecil, whose house Terri and I now own and live in. The men who cut the trees down moved the birdbath and I went out to move it back to its original place in the yard since the tree limbs had all been cleaned up. I thought I’d just pick ‘er up and manhandle it back to its former residence but, WOAH there Nellie! That thing weighed a ton! Well, not really a ton, but it was almost more that I could lift. You see, my Papaw Cecil had a knack for building things that last. The house I live in for example was built in the late forties into the first year or so of the fifties, and believe you me it’s still just as strong and straight as it was when he built it. Throughout the house and property are signs of grandpa’s design on a myriad of things including said birdbath. As I grunted and Heave-hoed the old boy back into place I though, “you know, they just don’t build things like they used to!”
Now I’m not one who lives in the past, nor am I one to criticize the use of new technology in any way; I’m a multitasker with the best of them. But many things these days are just not made to last. From cars to homes, from marriages to partnerships, and from computers to commitments. These days most trend toward the temporary instead of the permanent. Take marriage, for example… the concept of throw away convenience has edged its way into matrimony to such a degree that when you see a 25th wedding anniversary notice in the paper you find yourself thinking, not too many of them anymore. We live in a world of disposables. Disposable diapers, cell phones, cameras, plates, laptops, everything seems to be designed for the short term. According to our friends at Wikipedia, a disposable product is a product designed for cheapness and short-term convenience rather than medium to long-term durability, with most products only intended for single use. There are things however are made for forever…. US!
Near the end of his life, Jean-Paul Sartre told Pierre Victor: “I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God.” For those of us who have not bowed to the evolutionist theories of the day, we firmly believe that, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that crept upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” We believe this to be true! And when God does something, he does it right! In fact, you and I will be who we are, somewhere forever. That’s how we are created. The plan God had in mind was for us to be with Him. Enter the problem of sin. Because of sin, or man choosing his way over God’s, we found ourselves separated from God, His presence, and eternity with Him for that matter. Not the plan, but God made a way through Faith in His Son Jesus that we could, if we choose, experience forever with Him.
Thinking of the fullness and duration of this wonderful life, W. B. Hinson, a great preacher of a past generation, spoke from his own experience just before he died. He said, “I remember a year ago when a doctor told me, ‘You have an illness from which you won’t recover.’ I walked out to where I live 5 miles from Portland, Oregon, and I looked across at that mountain that I love. I looked at the river in which I rejoice, and I looked at the stately trees that are always God’s own poetry to my soul. Then in the evening I looked up into the great sky where God was lighting His lamps, and I said, ’ I may not see you many more times, but Mountain, I shall be alive when you are gone; and River, I shall be alive when you cease running toward the sea; and Stars, I shall be alive when you have fallen from your sockets in the great down pulling of the material universe!’ What a thought, you know man may not built things like they used to, but God does! The only sad note in this tune is the fact that everyone will be somewhere forever, the problem centers on the question of where. If God really is who He says he is, and if faith in His Son Jesus is the only way to Heaven— If heaven is a reality then so is hell. And we were made to last forever remember? God built you for forever, where will you spend it?
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.ReachReach