There’s a story that goes like this:
A man works hard his whole life and acquires a lot of things. So much so that he has no place to store them, so he says to himself, “Where shall I store my abundance I’ve worked so hard for? My house and attic are too small to store my great wealth.”
The man comes to the conclusion that in order to store his treasures he needs to tear down his home and build a bigger one. So he builds and acquires more and finally rests and sits in his rocking chair on his porch and says to himself, “Now I will finally be happy. I’ll drink and be merry and finally enjoy the fruit of all my hard work.”
That night the man suffers a stroke and dies and leaves no heirs to his vast fortune. The land and treasure are eventually claimed by the government and in the place where the large mansion once stood, the city creates a landfill. All the man’s life work and effort disposed of in a matter of weeks. His home and life’s work a distant memory in a matter of months
It’s a depressing tale really. A modern spin of a story Jesus tells in the Gospel of Luke, but known by most of us as the Rat Race – this feeling we have that what we’re doing in life doesn’t really matter. That like a bunch of rats in a never-ending maze we’re running around accomplishing nothing.
I know that if I’m quiet enough and search deep enough that even after the shows and tours there’s this realization that what I’m doing doesn’t really matter. 200 years from now no one will likely remember August Burns Red. I’m but a vapor. A midst. A tiny blip on history’s radar.
And so often times, because of that nagging sense of the rat race I’ll seek this never ending fulfillment in the things around me in hopes that it will make me feel the way I think it should. Fulfilled.
But sure enough all that the world has to offer us simply falls short. And why? Because it can’t satiate or quench the thirst of our souls knowing there’s something more.
Sure we can be content with a paycheck, until we run out of money. We can be content with our bodies, until we age. We can feel good about our career when it’s on the up, but what happens when we retire, quit or get fired? Our accomplishments are but simple trophies that one day will be put on the shelf in our closet and collect dust. And when we try to point to what we’ve accomplished we will open that closet, look at those trophies, and remember the “good old days”. But don’t we so desperately desire something more? Don’t we desire something sustainable?
I’m learning to look at the trophies I’ve acquired and realize they’re just stupid trophies that acquire dust, and what really matters is the legacy we leave behind. The way we impact people, the way we show them God’s love and pour into the areas where they’re hurting.
I think of my life and how someone thousands of years ago made a small investment to ensure I’d have hope. 2000 years ago a guy named Saul of Tarsus became a Christian. He ends up convincing a lot of other people to become Christians and gives them hope, who in turn tell other people. This carries on throughout history and generations until one day I’m wrestling through suicidal thoughts….and then I meet people who are Christians who gave me hope and have continued to give me hope. And in turn, now I get to do the same. To live for something bigger than a trophy in a closet collecting dust.
Everyday we have to ask ourselves, “What am I truly living for? A paycheck? My beauty? A marriage?” Or am I living for something bigger than myself that will have ramifications long after I’m gone?
My hope is that my trophy won’t sit in a closet, but instead be carried on in the hearts of others who carry it forward to others as well.