QUARTZ, HEVEL, and WHAT REALLY MATTERS
Super Bowl 52 has come and gone and Minnesota is proud to have had the opportunity to showcase everything great about the North Star state, “L'Etoile du Nord.” Our Soldiers and Airmen spent over a week’s time in freezing and sometimes sub-zero temperatures around the clock in support of local law enforcement and they did a fantastic job. Positive, friendly, vigilant, and prepared - they lived up to the Minnesota National Guard motto of “Always Ready.”
It was a great blessing to have access to the areas where our men and women were providing security in order to bring them encouragement, ministry, warm drinks, and a smile - these are our nation’s best and brightest!
While circulating on one visit, we took a tour of US Bank Stadium, getting a glimpse inside a team locker room, surveying the playing field, and standing in awe at the opulence of the most luxurious suites - accommodations secured by only the wealthiest of patrons. We saw beautiful stone countertops, rich woodwork and extravagant carvings, butter-soft leather couches, and a stock of booze that would make Hemingway blush.
It was in a particularly lavish room that a battle buddy turned to me and said, “Chaplain, I've never seen anything like this, but do you know what really matters? Tonight I’m going to go home, pay my bills, take out the trash, kiss my wife, and help my kids with their homework. This is all great, but that’s what really matters."
King Solomon, whose net worth was perhaps over $1 trillion in today's dollars and hailed far and wise as the wisest man who ever lived, said that all the riches in the world added up to nothing. From his perspective, life was the "vanity of vanities." In other words, life, filled with all of its diversions and entertainment, is "hevel," or beautiful and mysterious but unclear, confusing, disorienting and uncontrollable like the fog.
But Solomon doesn't endorse pessimism or a fatalistic approach in light of that reality. Rather, in spite of our efforts to try to unsuccessfully catch the wind, he encourages these practical admonitions in the book of Ecclesiastes:
Life is an adventure - we are to live by faith Life is a gift - we are to enjoy it Life is an education - we can learn our lessons Life is about stewardship - manage God's resources
What really matters is that we should revere God and willingly obey His commandments. If we can catch that truth, it will set us free from the bondage of life's hollow pursuits.
Leader Prayer: Lord, thank you for the opportunity to show kindness to strangers and for friends who speak truth. With our limited resources of time and energy, I pray we diligently pursue that which pleases you and brings growth to your Kingdom - to the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Amen.