How much do you know about your great grandfather? Do you know his name? Do you know where he was born? Do you know how much schooling he had? Do you know his hobbies? Do you know how long he was married? Do you know what occupations he held? How much money did he make on average? The questions about the basic facts of his life could go on and on? If you are like me, you have to admit that you know very little – in some cases, nothing at all – about the father of your grandfather or grandmother. And if you know little to nothing about him, it is a safe bet to assume that your friends know even less about him, probably nothing at all. I don’t say this to make you feel guilty. I say it to point out an undeniable fact – We are fading from existence and we are not nearly as important as we like to think that we are!
Like our great grandfathers, we will soon be dead, and our very own descendants won’t remember us or anything about us. The knowledge of who we are will be unceremoniously swept off the earth. You know this to be true. You don’t even have to be a Christian to accept it. This is cold, hard, indisputable reality.
Think about all the vain things that we spend so much time and money on now. They will be gone and forgotten. The television programs that we take such great care to record on DVR; the sports games that are such a big deal to us, we will cancel everything else to make sure we can watch it; the national championships won by our favorite college; the winner of the Super Bowl; the winners of the Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes; who won “Survivor”, etc. All will be soon forgotten. In fact, they are already forgotten by most people. Without looking it up, do you know who won the Super Bowl 10 years ago? Five years ago? Pick a year. Let’s pick 1991. Do you know who won the national championship in college football or basketball that year? Do you know who got Best Actor Award? Do you know whose book was #1 on the NY Times bestseller list? What new clothing styles came out that year? What was the big, blockbuster movie of the summer that year? Who was the coolest kid in the graduating class in Humboldt, Nebraska? My guess is that most of you do not know or care. Welcome to reality. Welcome to the universal disregard for the great achievements of others. Welcome to your future.
There is an enormous amount of vanity in our lives. We spend huge amounts of time and money on things of ZERO consequence. They don’t matter in eternity and they don’t even matter for more than a few years of this fleeting life. Solomon said it well in the following passages:
“I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.” (Eccl. 1:14)
“For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!” (Eccl. 2:16)
“For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?” (Eccl. 6:12)
“So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility.” (Eccl. 8:10)
If you not a Christian -- or as is more often the case, you are a false Christian -- then all of this depresses you. You don’t like to hear this hard reality. Why? Because you live for yourself and for the glory of your own name, and you don’t like to think that your life is really that meaningless. But it is. You spend a lot of time and money on worthless pursuits that will soon be flushed into that great septic tank called REALITY. You want a legacy. You want to be remembered. You want to be famous and highly regarded for generations to come. But it won’t happen, and you know it. There is no denying the truth of what I’m saying. You will be forgotten very soon. I beg you to consider this. What are you living for? What is the purpose of your life?
If you are a true Christian, however, then this “cold, hard reality” actually makes you smile. Why? Because you are not living for yourself or the glory of your own name. You are living for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ, who will be remembered and praised forever and ever and ever. Long after we are all dead and forgotten, generations to come will still be talking about Jesus Christ and worshiping Him. His Book will still be in print and will still be #1 all time. You are content to be forgotten, because you are living for Him. You live for His kingdom, not yours, and as the scripture is fond of declaring, “His Kingdom endures forever.” You are NOT wasting your time and your life and your money on worthless pursuits and vanishing kingdoms. You are investing in the one thing that matters and counts for all time -- The kingdom of Jesus Christ. Live for Him even more. Forget about you. Live fully for Him, and you will rejoice with Him for all eternity in the glory of His everlasting kingdom.