All the World’s a Stage and So Much of It is Absolute Vanity
Not long ago, I wrote an article called, “All is Vanity Because All is Utter Futility.” You may wish to read that one before you read and digest this one because they are somewhat connected.
This morning, I watched a video of a live performance by Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1975 where they performed one of their classic hits, “Free Bird.” Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant dedicated the song to the memory of two brothers from another group at the time – The Allman Brothers – who had died not long before in motorcycle accidents.
As I watched the video, I was reminded that several of the original members are dead, having been killed in the plane crash that occurred on October 20, 1977 in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Gone are lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and vocalist Cassie Gaines, Gaines sister. More recently, long-time pianist Billy Powell died after an illness. Guitarist Allen Collins also died in 1990 from complications of a vehicular accident that left him paralyzed. Lead guitarist Gary Rossington – who almost died in the 1977 plane crash – recently almost died from a heart attack. Our mortality is always before us.
Today, the band continues with Ronnie Van Zandt’s younger brother Johnny taking over lead singing responsibilities, but other original members are still involved. Looking back over the years, I’m amazed to learn just how many musicians that I listened to (and many I never really paid attention to), are now dead. They are no longer in this world. They have left this life and entered eternity. For them, there is no coming back.
During the course of their lives, they received many accolades and even awards for the music they produced. Much of the music I listened to – though not specifically labeled “Christian” music – was, nonetheless, uplifting. Songs were about loving a girl, life, and things of that nature. They were normally very melodic and enjoyable. They had a beat and you could dance to it, right?
But when all is said and done, why do we put so much effort into things that do not last? Why do we place such a high value on songs written by people who are not saved and why do the awards they receive for those songs seem to many to be the pinnacle of success?
Certainly, by the world’s standards, receiving an award for producing music (or a movie, if an actor; a painting if a painter), is the cat’s meow. It’s the be all and end all. There is nothing more to do once that Academy, Grammy, or some other award is received. I imagine as an actor, once you receive that Academy Award, the only other thing you can do is shoot for another one. But when all is said and done, that’s as high as it goes. There’s really nothing higher. But let’s face it. Even the best award rots or rusts from exposure, dirt, and decay.
I had the privilege (I guess you could call it that), of visiting the executive offices at a major movie studio a few years back. While there, one of the assistants to an executive showed us some of the very Academy Awards that were earned by stars from yesteryear for the movies they acted in then. While it was very interesting to hold some of those statues and awards, I couldn’t help but notice that they were specked with rust and dirt. From a distance, it would be difficult to notice, but up close, it was obvious.
Nothing lasts forever in this life and isn’t that Solomon’s main point throughout Ecclesiastes when he bemoans the fact that “all is vanity”? Isn’t this what Jesus actually reiterated in the following statement?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal,” (Matthew 6:19).
It would seem to me that this is exactly what Jesus was saying to us. Awards are nice, but they perish and can be stolen. The treasures we often seek here on earth have a limited longevity, not an eternal one. We receive our awards, keep them polished, and put in a glass case to show off or to remind ourselves how much our effort gained for us. I’m certainly not condemning the award process, but things need to be put and kept in perspective, don’t they?
Can an award save our soul? Can a good career or even being promoted to the highest position in that career save our soul? Can having the nicer car or home, or the family with 1.5 children save our soul? Can good suits save us? Can attending the “right” church grant us eternal rewards?
The truth of the matter may be that while some of these things are certainly fine to seek if done with the proper perspective (James 4:15), the real issue is our outlook on things eternal. Do you think for a moment that there will be actors, musicians, artists, or politicians in heaven? Do you think that there will be corporate CEOs who travel the world in privately owned jets while receiving six to eight figure salaries? We will be living under the perfect theocracy.
If we really stop to think about it, there is so much in this life that Satan has created as a distraction that too often keeps us from understanding the temporary nature of things in general. How many times have I read an article/interview about/with some musician who has apparently made it to the “top” and been awarded the “best musician” label. I’m not even sure how that happens frankly because there are so many great to wonderful musicians. Yet, somehow, they receive the requisite votes to catapult them to the top of their category. Whoopee. Who cares?
Imagine them standing before God referring to their awards as the reason they should gain entrance into heaven. We know it doesn’t work like that, but sadly, too many people aren’t aware of it and tend to believe their own press. They actually think they have accomplished something when they receive some award for their talent, talent that was originally given to them by God Himself (Matthew 5:45). They don’t recognize that though, do they? And the ones who do are sometimes boo’d at awards shows when they include praise to their Creator for the talent given to them.
This world has become such a sad spectacle. I cannot imagine how bad things were during Noah’s day that caused God to decide to completely eradicate all humanity along with the animals that crawled along the ground or flew in the air. How terrible living then must have been.
If you haven’t noticed though, the world is coming full circle. We are moving rapidly in that direction of Noah’s days and Jesus warned us about it.
For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be, (Matthew 24:37).
It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building, (Luke 17:28).
What were the times of Noah and Lot like? Noah of course came before the time of Lot and we know that apart from Noah and his immediate family along with the animals that God brought to the Ark, no life was saved. All tragically destroyed.
Things were very, very bad and all we need to do is look at the incident when the angelic messengers came to Sodom to destroy it to learn how bad things were then, and this is after God destroyed everyone in the Flood!
In all likelihood, this incident with Lot was the tip of the iceberg because by that point, God had already decided to destroy Sodom (Genesis 19). Read that section carefully because there is a hint that the angel could have destroyed other cities besides Sodom and Gomorrah. This particular incident in front of Lot’s home came after that decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah had already been made. It is very likely that during Noah’s day, this type of thing went on unchecked by everyone. It was simply accepted. People did as they wanted to do, whatever seemed to be good in their own eyes. It’s called making decisions by emotional virtue (relativity) as opposed to using absolute truth based on God’s Word. Emotional virtue breeds political correctness.
Here’s an interesting news report that you’ll never hear on any mainstream news bureau. It’s a report about the mass molestation of women in Cologone, France that took place this past New Year’s Eve, perpetrated by Arab and North African immigrant men on any woman who happened to be available. If anyone stepped up to try to protect the women, they were also beaten by this perverted mob. Even though police made dozens of arrests, they were ultimately released because the jail was full. One bouncer tried to protect some women and the perpetrators tried to beat him. He was able to protect himself because that’s what bouncers do.
On another front, I watched this video the other day of a young black girl on a school bus punching and pulling the hair of a young, overweight, white boy. As the bus rolled along, the girl continued to do what she wanted to do while the boy tried to protect himself without fighting back. No one helped, including the bus driver. Finally, the young boy had enough and began defending himself. As soon as he did, an older black kid stepped into defend the girl, who turned out to be the boy’s sister. He wasn’t about to let the overweight boy get away with defending himself, but it was perfectly fine apparently to allow the young girl to beat on him without mercy. The overweight boy actually asked the girl’s brother to stop and then turned to the young black girl who had been beating him and asked her, “Are you okay?” Video ends.
There is a growing mentality in society today that it is okay to do whatever you want to do and if you can get away with it, good on you. High fives all around. This is the society in which we live and it is so because people have no real clue as to what truly matters. Folks never see eternity up ahead and when they do, it’s always through the lens of Satan’s ideology, which teaches us, “If I go to hell, I’ll be celebrating with my homies!” That’s often the mentality of those who believe in anything beyond the grave.
This type of false bravado is evident in too many people today. It breeds a contempt for others and a complete lack of respect, fear, and reverence for God and things eternal. Instead, it places a high value on temporal things, things destined to perish. For people who think like this, nothing matters except themselves. It is because of this, they do not see or comprehend the vanity that consumes most of their lives. Satan has created quite a web of deceit, hasn’t he?
Because of the misplaced value of too many in society, things that have no real eternal value are lifted up and adored, while the things that have eternal value are denigrated or ignored. This is sadly true even among Christians. It’s all about what we “accomplish” for God whether it’s His will or not. It’s all based on how things look on the outside, things we can brag about or put our faith in.
Yes, Christians need to be working for God, but we need to be involved in doing what He is already doing, just as Jesus was (John 5:19), not wasting our time with things that don’t matter, in spite of the fact that they might appear “religious.” Too often – and I’ve been just as guilty of this as many of you – we involve ourselves in things that really don’t matter but only appear as though they matter. They end up being nothing more than self-aggrandizement that the enemy uses to puff us up. We relish our own arrogance.
Folks, terrible times are coming whether you want to admit it or even consider it. But as we fellowship with God, drawing closer to Him there, I think we’ll find that there is no safer place we can be. I’m still finding my way and figuring it out, just like you. Thank God for His Word, our eternal guidebook.
I appreciate you reading my posts. I hope they’re beneficial. I don’t mean to be “negative” or “depressing.” I’m simply trying to provide what I believe to be a realistic understanding of biblical truth. The chasm between good and evil, righteous and unrighteous is increasing and becoming even more pronounced. Are you ready for it? Are you taking advantage of His Presence, guidance, and protection? It only happens when we are in fellowship with God, not living for ourselves.
Choose fellowship with God. If you do not choose fellowship with God, you have chosen fellowship with the world by default.
Choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, eternity, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: as it was in the days of lot, as it was in the days of noah, christ our fellowship, fellowship, free bird, genesis 19, James 4:15, john 5:19, joshua 24:15, Luke 17:28, lynyrd skynyrd, Matthew 24:37, Matthew 5:45, Matthew 6:19.