Friday, June 7, 2013

Are you overwhelmed by life?

Then let me give you some perspective :)

Starting with verse 3, Genesis 5 collapses into nothing more than a litany of numbers and outdated names:

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters....

From there, you plug in new names and different numbers, but that's pretty much the chapter. Some guy first becomes a father at an age well beyond qualifying for the AARP, and then he proceeds to produce more sons and daughters on his way to death's door.

In an era before political elections, athletic contests, and Fortune 500 lists of the most wealthy businesspeople in the world, people lived, had sons and daughters, and died. We're not told if they preferred raising crops to raising cattle or even where they lived. We don't know how they spent their free time (if they had any), or what sort of property they owned, or lived on, or traveled over. We don't know if they were fat or thin, bald or hairy, bowlegged or athletic. All we know is that they had kids, and then they died.

This simplistic view of life is shockingly honest. And many years from now, when most of us are a few generations removed from the land of the living, even our descendants probably won't know our vocation, our golf handicap, what houses we lived in, how good the garden looked, or whether we preferred Coke or Pepsi. Oh, our grandchildren, and maybe even the rare great-grandchildren, may occasionally drum up a story or two about us- but after that, we're history. For all practical purposes, the only thing we did that will matter to them is that we chose to have sons and daughters, with the result that they're alive and they walk the face of the earth.

This stark almost unmerciful truth certainly humbles the modern man or woman and challenges most of our modern aspirations. What the majority of us spend the bulk of our time worrying about - our 9:00 to 5:00 jobs, what houses we live in, how we are going to spend the weekend, how physically fit we look, what vehicle we drive - ultimately amounts to nothing and gets completely forgotten. And what we often ignore in our pursuit of the above - that is our children and our families - are the only things we truly leave behind.

If you are still not convinced, take a test: Tell me the first name of your paternal great-great-great-grandfather. That's just five generations removed. Can you name his wife? Where did the two of them live? You probably can't answer that, but since there are always a few genealogy buffs out there, let me dig a little deeper. Were these ancestors of yours physically fit or out of shape? How did they spend their free time? What caused them the most worry in life? What part of their body hurt the most, and from what - arthritis, sinus trouble, a backache? How many credit payments did they miss? How did they come up with enough money to pay for their daughter's wedding? What was their favorite meal?

Almost none of us can even begin to answer these questions about our ancient ancestors, yet these concerns often drive our own existence. Now let's get a little more personal. If you can't answer this about your great-great-great grandparents, what makes you think your great-great-great grandchildren will be able to answer these questions about you?

In short, when we're painfully honest, we have to admit most of what we fret over will, in the not-too-distant future, become absolutely irrelevant, forgotten, and wiped away.

The above was an excerpt taken from "Sacred Parenting" by Gary L Thomas

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