My wife and I were flipping through channels on the TV one night last week.
Well, actually, my wife had control of the remote and I was trying to keep her from seeing that I was slightly interested in her shows by “working” on my laptop (which doubles as a heating pad in this frigid Canadian winter!). We were happily sharing some “quality” relationship time in watching TV together but I finally drew the line when she tuned in to one of those trauma-ER-hospital-story-docudrama things. I get nauseous at the sight of blood and really can’t get why my wife is fascinated by the inner workings of the human body displayed in all of it’s wonderfully made gooey glory on the operating table via a TV in our HOME! I keep telling her she should be a nurse. But she says she can’t handle snotty noses or dirty diapers (the early years with our children were….interesting….). Being the hero husband that I am I suggested to her that I really wanted our quality time together in front of the TV to continue so could we please watch something else (and threatened to leave the room – with my laptop of course)!
That’s how we ended up flipping through channels and then we noticed that the movie Gladiator was starting. We’d already seen it before but it’s just SUCH a good movie that we decided to watch it again. Yes, I know some of you are shaking your head right now at me because of the abundance of blood and guts in this flick but hang on, there’s a difference! With a movie I know it’s not real – it’s just amazingly good makeup and tomato juice and stuff. Those trauma documentary’s show the real thing! Now that we got that out of the way…
One of the reasons why Gladiator is such a great movie is because of the powerful story of what one good man will do for the dream of a better empire. Of course he is also a man driven by the desire for revenge over the senseless deaths of his wife and son – but then when presented with the opportunity to let out his vengeance on the one who ordered their deaths the gladiator holds things in check because he knows it would plunge Rome into chaos (it wasn’t the right time)… so he really does have the interest of the empire in mind.
But then, we all know how the mighty empire of Rome turned out don’t we? There have been nations come and go in history, Kings and Queens have come and gone, empires have sprung up and disintegrated and big important guys on the world scene centuries ago are barely remembered today. But that’s a big timescale isn’t it? What about in our lifetime? Trends and fads come and go, brands get unbranded and movements stop moving. One year shoelace beads are all the rage and the next year they better be on your bike not your shoes. A video on youtube goes viral and gets millions of views and it’s old news next week. Thinking about all of this – it really is amazing how much and in what people will invest of their lives. Especially when it’s all temporary.
Of course, C.S. Lewis would write something like this:
“To the Materialist, things like nations, classes, civilizations must be more important than individuals, because the individuals live only seventy-odd years each and the group may last for centuries. But to the Christian, individuals are more important, for they live eternally; and races, civilizations and the like, are in comparison the creatures of a day.” – C.S. Lewis, “Man or Rabbit”
Sometimes we get wrapped up in the silliest things but I think it’s a good idea to think about what you really invest the prime, the best, of your life in.
- relationships with the ones closest to you OR the followers you’ll never meet.
- making memories OR watching memories
- your passions, the things you love doing (and are made to do) OR your “have-to’s” (everything else)
- loving people OR loving things.
- participation OR observation.
- planting OR consuming.
- getting to the top of the ladder OR building your character.
- striving for arriving OR giving while living.
For nearly everything it’s not a matter of either/or but instead, more/less because eternal things are what really matters. How much do you invest in what matters? If you had to add things to this comparison list what would you add?
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. … — John 6:27 (NIV)