I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart! -Psalm…
Perhaps you remember the old song, “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. The point of it was that human beings are merely dust in the wind, nothing more—here today, gone tomorrow. And, when it’s all over, that’s about all there is to say:
Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
It’s pretty depressing, but there is some stark truth to it. King David says something similar in Psalm 103:15-16:
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
But he never says what is fashionable today, that our existence is nothing but dust, only that our days are soon gone and forgotten. The difference is enormous, and should never be minimized. I like the song, but I don’t get any of my theology from it!
What David says is what other prophets have said, that our time on this earth is rapidly passing by, and is soon gone. It’s like grass, or a flourishing flower, that is dried up and blown away with the wind.
But that’s as far as he goes.
Our days may fly by, but they are valuable, and so are we: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:3-5). Whatever we may look like at the moment, we are royalty in God’s eyes, if we fear him and live according to his will as his called people. And, the New Testament adds, what we do on this earth is valuable, and will even last beyond us:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. -John 15:16
Nothing we do through Jesus Christ will ever be in vain:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:58
People and civilizations will eventually crumble to the ground. No one doubts this. We have literally thousands of years of history to prove this point. But our royalty means that our future lies with the eternal, indestructible Kingdom of God. So, in any final sense, it doesn’t matter how kingdoms rise and fall, or what political movements come and go, or even what happens to us personally along the way. Our value, meaning, and security are tied directly into the unchangeable plan of God and his boundless mercy and grace toward us. So Jesus commands us,
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).