In the middle of this string of long, beautiful, warm and sunny days in Berlin, it is sometimes hard to imagine the short, dark days of Berlin winter. I’m sure, however, that it won’t be long before the reverse will be true, and these lovely days will not be remembered as we endure the Berlin “Gray” all over again.
One thing is certain, time does not stand still. The days and seasons fly past and, all of a sudden, a year is gone, and then a decade, and then, in the blink of an eye, more than half a lifetime. How can the 1970s be nearly fifty years ago?!
According to a statistical chart I saw recently, the oldest (documented) living person on the planet was born in the year 1900. This person, who lives in Japan, will be 118 years old in August. Even by our twenty-first century standards, that is impressive! But I imagine a lifetime approaching 120 years has still probably seemed to the one living it a short time, made up of a few strings of sunny and gray days.
The point is, we only have so much time and then, before we know it, this life is done. But what is the point of it all? Do we eat and drink and try our best to find happiness, because this day might be our last? Is there any meaning to life beyond that? This is one of the big questions.
The writer of Ecclesiastes (in the Old Testament of the Bible) seems to be very pessimistic in his outlook on life. He finds that all things are, more or less, meaningless. For twelve chapters he goes on and on about the emptiness and meaningless of knowledge and prosperity and pleasure and all the things people typically do with the time they are given. It is all meaningless, he says.
But his conclusion at the end of his book is this (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14):
- Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
The Lord God, alone, gives meaning to life. May we remember this now, “in the days of our youth!” (Nobody on this distribution list is anywhere near 118!) These sunny days and the gray days that follow have meaning only as we remember the Lord who gives them to us. We each have our respective work to do, but Jesus said (John 6:29): “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”