“Is it Gonna Burn” The temporal status of the things of this world

Today’s Musing is a first for a budding author. Jeffery VerWay studies business at Bob Jones University and has a goal to visit all 47 South Carolina state parks before graduating in December.

I finished my 1:00 class today to look down at my phone and see a notification from the Wall Street Journal, “A terrible fire is burning at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.”

I didn’t think much of it but decided to click on the notification and see what it was. One of the most prominent gothic era buildings was up in flames. The world looked on as it could do little to nothing about this historic monument being destroyed. The roof sustained major damage including the collapse of the famous spire towering over the rest of the cathedral.

A building that endured since the 12th century and withstood many wars including two world wars had sustained severe damage in just a few hours. This is not the first-time man-made wonders have fallen before their creators in the history of the world.

In 1912 the Titanic struck an iceberg, and the ship deemed unsinkable disappeared below the waves to the bottom of the Atlantic.

The Hindenburg, a massive blimp, crashed shortly after takeoff in 1937 as it went up in flames.
Just recently in 2016 a wildfire spread through the state of Tennessee and caused devastating damag e and casualties to famous landmarks, towns, and cities in the Gatlinburg area.

All these great and beautiful creations by man were destroyed in just a few days or even hours, so what can we learn from this?

Everything in this world is temporary.

From an early age many people will learn that life on this earth is temporary. James 4:14 “You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
Christians must be careful in this life to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. The things of this world, including the people around us that we allow to influence us so much, will soon perish.

I used to sing the old hymn, Is It Goona Burn? in youth group and Sunday School on occasion. The song illustrates well James 4:14. The song talks about how God’s people squander their time on earth and waste it with the things of this short life. The chorus then goes on to ask, “Is it gonna burn? What you build in this life, is it gonna burn? Will you lose it all, when your work is tried will you lose it all? Will you enter the kingdom as one, to whom the Lord will say well done? Or will you cross over into his land, burned and scarred with an empty hand? Is it gonna burn?”

When we die, we take nothing which we cumulate in this life. One man may be a billionaire while another starves to death on the street, but when they both die, they will stand before God facing the same judgement.
So, what are some things Christians should keep in mind when it comes to the things of this world?

• Having possessions is not a bad thing.

There  were many rich people in the Bible, and those with wealth were not condemned by God. There are many examples to look to and many to learn from as well. The rich young ruler that asked Jesus what he must do to enter Heaven was too attached to his riches and not willing to let go of them to follow Jesus. This is when our things take control of us. They must not take first place from God and become idols. An example to follow is that of Joseph, who when given control of everything the superpower Egypt had to offer was still selfless in his actions and provided for those in need. Money is a great tool when we control it. It is a deadly weapon when it controls us.

• Christians should be wary of wasting their time on this earth.

God put us on the earth to glorify him. Christians should live out their lives looking to obey this commandment and not just to satisfy ourselves. We play this out by sharing God’s Word with others and giving Him the glory in all that we do. Do not be attached to the temporal things that distract us from what really matters. As the credit card commercials say, “Chase what matters.”

• Enjoying the things of the earth is not inherently evil.

Just because the things of the world take so much of our time and attention away from what we should really be paying attention to doesn’t mean they are always sin. Because of the fall mankind has a way of perverting everything we touch. This includes temporary  things. Things like marriage have been perverted by those deciding marriage is for them to decide the definition. The world takes things, stuff relationships, buildings, and anything that we decide is more important to us than God in the moment and make them into our own personal time wasters. This is one expression of when they are sinful. God wants his people to enjoy things in their life. Afterall he gave us his beautiful creation and great things like food and family to enjoy. Like the old man said, “enjoy the things of the earth, as far as conscience will allow.”

• Remember our true treasures lie in Heaven.

Ultimately in life Christians need to think about their eternal life that approaches. We should not take these things in our short lives and put them above the things that will be in eternity. Stop and think for a moment about what you are valuing more than eternity. For me it is friendships with unbelievers. I worry more about my reputation and not wanting to be seen as that guy who only talks about Jesus, so instead, I will just not talk about my faith so that I fit in. Don’t waste your life feeling this way. Pray to God and ask him to help you remove the things from your life that are distracting you from Him.

While the world mourns that which is temporary and short, celebrate the gift you have been given that is forever in eternity.

As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing