The grass withers, the flower fades; nothing lasts except the word of our God. It will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 (VOICE)
Forlorn is the word that came to mind as we traveled in Crete.
Half built houses lined the road. The lower floors had been constructed. They stood dull and lifeless—grey blocks with gaping holes where windows and doors should have been placed.
Metal rods protruded from the top of the blocks, pointing up towards the blue sky—waiting in anticipation for the next floor to be built, yet never came.
Abandoned years ago, tall weeds now took over the building sites.
Our taxi driver, who worked two other jobs to scrape a living, drove us from the port of Heraklion to the ancient ruins of Knossos.
Knossos is a reminder Crete was not always in economic decline.
The palace once stood proudly as an example of Crete’s flourishing Minoan civilization, which began around the time of the life of Abraham and reached its peak in 1600BC.
As I admired the brightly colored frescos and deep red painted columns, I realized Knossos was once a place of vibrant beauty and immense wealth.
Yet, suddenly the civilization came to an end. Historians speculate over the reason for the civilization’s demise. Did the Minoans ever believe their empire would come to an end?
As I stood among the ruins, I couldn’t help think about the futility of the human effort to invest in temporal things.
I considered our own great nations—the United States of America, Great Britain, the European Union. It seems impossible they will ever decline. I’m sure the Minoans felt the same way.
The grass withers, the flower fades.
I pondered these thoughts as I walked along the High Line in NYC a few days ago. I had been in the same place in the summer. Then the flowers were spectacular. I didn’t think about the coming fall or winter; how the plants would die. Yet, now their colorful heads had gone. Leaves had turned brown. The foliage had shrunk back to expose the brown earth.
Scripture likens these changes in nature to nations and empires.
No realm, regardless of its strength, can last forever. Only the Word of God is imperishable.
Yet, often, we build and furnish our own palaces as if they are the most important thing in the world.
I’ve been reminded of this since we set up home in New York City. We moved into a fully furnished rented apartment near Union Square. The contents of the house sit in a warehouse in Massachusetts.
Suddenly our assets have become a liability, paid to collect dust each month.
Some items hold dear and precious memories—antiques passed down through generations, photographs of family members, artwork created by my children. Yet, these will fade.
So, I have to think, isn’t it better to put my efforts into building up that which has eternal value?
Following God’s commands, holding onto his promises, and teaching them to those we love are worth investing in because then we are building a permanent home.
Have you ever invested time and energy in something that faded? How did that make you feel about your investment?
Are there things left unfinished in your life that need to be put in order so they will last?
Share one area where you are building up something with eternal value.
What is one new thing you would like to focus on that will last?