Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Does Anything Really Matter?


Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."


Our life is a Pilgrimage

We would say that Jacob lived for a long time.  He was 130 years old when he was presented to Pharaoh by his son Joseph.  He still had 17 years to go since he died when he was 147. We don’t hear of him having cancer or arthritis or heart disease but still he doesn’t seem to think that life has been a lot of fun.   Various translations give a different spin to the phrase “few and evil”.  Some think he was saying life was difficult or hard or that it was not pleasurable.  And likely all of that was true.  And even though we would think a life of 130 years was long, Jacob saw his years as “few.”


Life is like a Vapor

James in the New Testament looks at life as a “vapor.”  Some have said that James is comparing life to the steam rising out of a tea kettle.  It is there and then it vanishes. 


In the Old Testament before the flood there were people that lived to be nearly 1000 years old.  But one thing happened to all but one of them.  THEY DIED!  Enoch of course was the one exception.  He walked with God and God took him without dying.  I suspect that even for those who lived for nearly a millennium, at the end their lives, life likely seemed to be just a vapor that came and then disappeared.  The early years of life do not seem that way.  It is only as one realizes that life and its opportunities are now in the rear view mirror of life and not somewhere down the road that the brevity and futility of life begins to grip us. 


The Meaning of Life

I am sure that all of us have wondered about where we came from, how we got here, and where we are going.  We have wondered about the purpose of life.  When we are young, we are glad when we finally reach maturity so we can “make our own decisions.”  Life holds promise and hope.  When we get older we wish we were younger (although most of us do not really want to live life over).  We can see that even if all of our dreams have materialized and if all of our goals have been accomplished and if we have achieved great success and wisdom, we still must die.  The preacher in Ecclesiastes seems to sum it all up by saying that all is vanity and chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:11).


No matter how fulfilling life may be while we are living it, looking back most of what has happened can seem somewhat pointless. If we are farmers, we buy more land to plant more corn to feed more pigs to buy more land to plant more corn to feed more pigs.  Life becomes an endless cycle of challenges.  All of us worry about the responsibilities of raising families and paying the bills and trying to teach the next generation how to avoid some of the things we have done wrong.  Then we worry because the next generation is doing the same things we did only they are making different mistakes.  And the cycle begins again.


We intersperse the mundane, the difficult, and the “evil” with vacations, entertainment, parties.  In some cases we use alcohol and drugs to keep from thinking about the pain that often afflicts us.  We want life to be enjoyable and even for those who have plenty of time for “fun”, even that seems to be pointless after a while.  Some of us may not find life enjoyable but we do find it fulfilling as long as we use it to serve others.  But even so, at the end of the road we die.


Is there Hope?

Does life have to be depressing or is there “HOPE?” If we define hope in a Biblical way as being something certain and pleasurable that we can anticipate, then there is hope.  It is not found in this life no matter how good our life may seem to others.  I am thankful that I have had it “good” in this life.  I have lived in the best 70 years this country has had to offer.  I have lived in the best country that this world has offered.  But even so, when I see how quickly life passes, I have to admit that this thing called “death” is still pretty depressing.  I realize that I must break away from the important things in life do my taxes, to pay my bills, to take care of maintenance on my house, to keep more and more doctor appointments and to plan for “the end.”  But the end for me is not the end.  It is just the beginning.  For those who are saved it is the beginning of something great.  It will be the best vacation we have ever taken.  It will be the most fulfilling vacation we could ever imagine and it will last forever.  For those who are not saved it will also be the beginning but they will wish that eternity wasn’t eternal.


John 5:24 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”  You can depend on this truth.  You can take it to the bank.  Depending on this verse will change the life whose years are “few and evil” into a life of hope that is eternal.  .


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of February 25, 2018

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