I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. - Ecclesiastes 1:14
This past week's fires in California have reminded me of the comment that is often made about "straightening chairs on the deck of the Titanic." As with the Titanic, so too I am sure that no one in Paradise, California, thought – just a week ago – "Everything we own will be gone a week from now." A week ago the people were likely mowing their lawns, raking leaves or washing their cars. We say, "Oh, my…if they had only known what was coming their way!" As with the sinking of the Titanic, how differently things would have been for those 1,503 people who perished that night…if they had only known before they got on board what the night of April 15, 1912 would bring.
But now, if we can but pull back a ways and view our situation through the lens of eternity. Is our situation all that different than what happened with the Titanic or with the fiery destruction of Paradise, California? Granted, we most likely will make it through this life to old age. We will likely not die on board a ship that is sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean or die in a massive forest fire that engulfs our home, our car and everything we own. Most likely we will, statistically speaking, die a very slow and quiet death either in a hospital bed, at the Hospice Center or at home. But in terms of eternity is there REALLY any difference between us and those who perished or lost everything? Granted, in the case of the Titanic or the town of Paradise, there was this huge issue of urgency. But in terms of eternity there is really is no difference.
So like some of the crew as they straightened chairs on the deck of the Titanic or the people of Paradise as they washed their cars and mowed their lawns, we also have busied ourselves with all kinds of vain activities: raking leaves, buying gifts, making pumpkin pies. Now I am, for one, very glad that we do these rather mundane things. For I like how things look when the yard is well raked; and I love those pies that Ruth makes…hmmm…they are so good. But eternity is coming, folks. It's coming. It's coming and it will be here before any of us know it. So please keep that in mind this Holiday season.