|The Last Rose of Summer|
King Solomon attempted to put life in perspective when he wrote, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Moses prayed, "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). And Jesus, commenting on His earthly days (and ours as well), advised, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4).
Earlier today, I shot a photo of the last rose growing in our flower garden. Over the spring, into the summer, and now with the fall under way this flower finally makes its magnificent entrance onto planet earth. It will be here momentarily then just as quickly as it appeared, it will fade away. Meteorologists are telling us that early this week in Kansas City, we will have the season's first visit of Arctic air and the temperature will dip into the low 20s. Goodbye rose!
Between Scripture and the garden, I find some life-lessons that I want to be mindful of.
1. Each of us lives in the present. Cherish the time God gives. It will not last. It will move hastily on. We cannot slow time down. We all live in the present.
2. As we live in the present, we also live in community. Even there, each of us is in a different stage of life. I glance over to watch my grandson and see his mother (my daughter) walk across the room. It seems like yesterday that she was the grandchild and I was the parent. We are together but find ourselves at a different stage of life. And time races on.
3. Life passes all too quickly. I recently saw a portrait of Philadelphia from the late 1800s in "Historic Pics" on Twitter. What stood out for me was that everyone in the photo (which captures a moment in time) is now deceased. Life was here and now it is gone.
4. We should do all we can to display the reality and goodness of God while we have opportunity. We never know when the present opportunity is the last we will have. Even the last rose of summer (or fall), declared God's glory even for only a moment...and then it is gone.
5. In the end, life is over. I have said many times, there is nothing so sure as death and nothing so unsure as the time. All of us have a date with death from this life when we will step into eternity.
6. If we really embrace the reality of the brevity of life and the infinity of eternity, would we not choose to live differently? Does Hebrews not teach us, "it is appointed unto man to die and after that the judgment?" And if we will be judged, should we not live our lives in light of that inevitable appointment?
Even as the last rose fades, I am reminded that we will too. So, like the rose, let's live our moment in the sun to display the beauty God intended.