Charlotte or the Orchestra?
In Ecclesiastes 3:11(KJV) speaking of the Lord, King Solomon says, “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Another translation renders the word, “world” as “eternity.” In other words, God has placed into the heart of all his children an undeniable desire for the knowledge of eternal things. We don’t know how we know there is an eternity; we just know there is. We don’t know why we are drawn to try to understand the things of eternity; we just know we are. And we don’t understand why we are drawn to have a personal relationship with our Creator any more than a Salmon understands why it is drawn back to the waters where it was conceived to spawn, or the bird understands why it is drawn to the sky to fly. As with them, it is simply something God has placed within us. Yes, like it or not, God has set eternity in each of our hearts.
As I journey through this thing called life, I do so with the full understanding that, when my eyes shall close in death, eternity with my Creator awaits me. However, I don’t really fear death. Now don’t get me wrong, death and me aren’t best buddies! I just don’t fear it. If the truth were known, I fear life more than death. Perhaps a better way to say it is … I fear living a meaningless, unfulfilled life, and leaving behind an unfinished task, more than dying. Many times I have heard people ask, “Well, what if you die?” To which I want to respond, “Well, what if you don’t die? What if you live a good long life? Will your life count? Will your life make an eternal difference in somebody else’s?”
As I thought about eternity – two stories came to my mind:
First, I am old enough to remember when the black and white version of the movie, Titanic, first aired on television. There was a scene in that movie, which I suppose is based upon historical fact, I really don’t know, when it became quite clear that the ship was going to sink. The conductor assembled his orchestra, and as the ship was sinking each member valiantly stayed in their assigned chairs, dressed in their tuxedos and evening gowns, and played, Nearer My God to Thee. Ain’t it funny? What they were doing didn’t make one iota of difference. They busied themselves doing something that didn’t matter while the ship was sinking. Yet, the song selection reveals to the viewer that God had set eternity in the heart of the conductor and into the hearts of his orchestra.
Secondly, I thought of the story of Charlotte’s Web. In this story, Wilbur, a young pig, fears that as he grows older and fatter that the farmer will make bacon out of him. That was probably a pretty well founded fear! In order to help save the life of her friend, Charlotte the spider begins to spin webs and write words on them about Wilbur that hopefully will make the farmer realize how special he is and spare his life. As the story ends, Charlotte, who is dying, can hear the roar of the crowd as Wilbur wins the award that will save his life. Charlotte dies with the satisfaction of knowing that her life made a difference in somebody else’s life.
What a contrast between the orchestra and Charlotte. Both have eternity in their hearts. As they face eternity the orchestra is assembled on the deck of a sinking ship, playing Nearer My God to Thee, knowing that what they were doing doesn’t really matter. But Charlotte dies with the satisfaction that her life had purpose and that she had fulfilled that purpose.
Oh! Let there be no doubt. God has set eternity in each of our hearts. The question is not, “What if I die?” You will. The real question is, “Will I live?” Every man dies but not every man learns what it takes to truly live. In Philippians 1:21(KJV) Paul says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Do you know Christ? In Him and Him alone – is life! Charlotte or the orchestra … which best describes you?
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