Scripture: “I have seen the God-given task
with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful
in its time. Also he has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one
can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Ecc 3:10-11
“Take time to smell the roses”
There were no
roses blooming anywhere nearby, not even multiflora roses in the fence rows,
but I did spend some time to take in the view spread out before me.
I had a few moments during the evening of a beautiful
day in late spring to contemplate the majesty of God’s wonders in a pastoral
setting that could have been straight out of the 23rd Psalm. The succulent
grass was green with the fullness of spring rains. I watched our sheep grazing
in the pasture as I replenished their drinking water from a tank on my truck.
The lambs were now confident enough to leave their mommas for group races
around the pasture, leaping and twisting in midair, filled with the joy
of life and the security of their surroundings. “For you are with me; Thy
rod and thy staff, they comfort me,” I thought - (Psalm 23:4b) and I in
turn comfort my sheep.
Our two livestock guardian dogs wandered through the
flock, pausing now and then to sniff and listen to assure that nothing dangerous
had crept in. At one point they trotted over to the fence line and began
to bark, looking at the field to the south. What did they detect? I could
not tell, but some creature undoubtedly learned that they were alert and
on duty. “Red sky at night . . . .“ The forecast
was for fair weather on the morrow, and the thin, high-altitude clouds glowed
I shifted my gaze from the western skies, across the
pastures, toward our neighbors to the east - the township cemetery. The tombstones
glowed in the fading light, marking the final resting place of many people
that I knew, including the former owners of this land upon which I now stood.
A memorial marker etched with their names and the span of their lives sits
just over the fence, as close as they could get to the land they once walked.
“One generation passes away, and another generation
comes; But the earth abides forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4, NKJV
I trust that my family and I will be found to be good
stewards of this land that they so much enjoyed and cared for in their time.
Our children, and already our children’s children, come to this place to
share in the task which we have undertaken to carry on.
Hopefully, we can instill an awareness of eternity in
their hearts, much as some now lying there in such silent repose have instilled
that knowledge into our own hearts.
“Where are they now?” I wonder, those souls whose earthly
shells rest in the silence of the ages. Rich or poor, mighty or meek in
their earthly time, that brief span determined their status for eternity.
Neither I nor any mortal can find out that final work of God. I ponder the
words of “The Preacher.” the author of Ecclesiastes: “I
know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to
it, and nothing can be taken from it. God does it, that men should fear
That which is has already been, and what is to be has
already been; and God requires an account of what is past. (Ecc. 3:14-15,
Like the dying embers of a giant fire, the glow in the
west slowly faded, the sky darkened, and, as if mirroring life itself,
the memorials dimmed and disappeared into the enveloping cloak of night.
May 28, 2006
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