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

It Shall Be Forever

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 in affirmation.
    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 before him.
    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, NKJV)
    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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