Our Days Pass Like Shadows

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Ecc. 6:12
Full Text: Ecc. 6; 2 Tim. 2
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective

Nostalgia | New York City, writes Pete Hamill, is “the capital of nostalgia” [1]. In his book, Downtown, he reminisces about the fourteen apartments in which he has lived, the Third Avenue El, the Brooklyn Dodgers and, of course, the World Trade Center. He writes, “New York teaches you to get over almost everything … Irreversible change happens so often in New York that the experience affects character itself. New York toughens its people against sentimentality by allowing the truer emotion of nostalgia” [2].

Vapors | It’s not just the things of New York that pass away. As we’ve seen this week [3], it’s the people, too. Our lives are vapors that appear for a little while and then disappear quickly. One day, we will be no more and the hustle and bustle of life will go on without us. As the Teacher in Ecclesiastes pondered, “For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?” [4]

Labor | What are we supposed to do with our short lives? Jonathan Edwards suggested that we ought to become like what we hope to attain: “We should be endeavoring to come nearer to heaven, in being more heavenly, becoming more and more like the inhabitants of heaven in respect of holiness and conformity to God, the knowledge of God and Christ, in clear views of the glory of God, the beauty of Christ, and the excellency of divine things, as we come nearer to the beatific vision. We should labor to be continually growing in divine love – that this may be an increasing flame in our hearts, till they ascend wholly in this flame” [5].

Prayer | Lord, You are the creator who is from everlasting to everlasting. We are the created who live in time – even though we are made for eternity in the age to come. As we pass by old storefronts or abandoned restaurants in our cities, remind us of our own mortality so that we long to become more and more like you and increasingly crave the excellency of divine and permanent things. Increase the flame in our hearts that burns with love for you until we ascend wholly into it. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Pete Hamill, Downtown: My Manhattan. Chapter 1.  |  [2] Id. at pp.18-19  |  [3] 843 Acres, He Set Eternity on All Hearts. 16 April 2012.; 843 Acres, What Currency Counts Beyond the Grave? 17 April 2012.; 843 Acres, How the Love of Money Disguises Itself. 18 April 2012.  |  [4] Ecc. 6:12 ESV  |  [5] Jonathan Edwards. Works. “The Christian Pilgrim, Or, The True Christians Life a Journey Toward Heaven.” Banner of Truth. (p. 244).
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5 Responses to “Our Days Pass Like Shadows”

  1. As I pass by abandoned storefronts it signals opportunity and not so much death. I was in FiDi visiting a leader in a new skyscraper and surveyed the abundance of shiny new buildings and the death, resurrection, glory dynamic of the gospel. Yes, things do pass really fast in NYC per Tim Keller…your faith is challenged more in NYC b/c there are about 60K+ people per square mile.

  2. I liked the way you weaved someone’s comments about NYC with Scripture truth. Great application!

  3. Calvin – That’s a great perspective, too. Definitely redemption has both parts to it – death and resurrection. Maybe I’ll wait until I see the new storefront go up until I celebrate! :) After all, up here on the UWS, a Century 21 replaced a Barnes & Noble. That was a sad, not celebratory day, for many of us! :)

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