“He has set eternity in the human heart...”
The cabana man is humming a tune that wanders without structure and does not resolve. He’s early-thirties, I’d say. Stocky build. Receding hairline. He’s wearing a white shirt, white shorts, white shoes and socks. His movement is halting, his arms angled awkwardly, as he gathers towels from the vacant chairs. It’s clear the man does not have mastery over his limbs, or his mind. Kelle spoke with him at length this morning.
“He has such a sweet spirit,” she said.
I find myself praying for the man. Reflexively.
“Lord, make him a great athlete in heaven. Make his motions fluid and his arms strong.”
“Why an athlete? Why not an artist, the kind that paints beauty onto canvas?”
It occurs to me that I am seeing through eyes that are fading. I’m stuck in time and I am not appreciating the masterpiece that God has set before me. God created this man with precision and purpose to bring glory to Himself for all eternity.
Eternity. When my mind is calm, it goes there. Like today.
In my hand is my reading assignment, a book called You and Me Forever by Francis Chan. Francis is one of my heroes. He’s like Rich Mullins to me, only without hair. Authentic. A little raw. Searching for Jesus. Chan writes,
“People accuse me of going overboard in preparing for the first ten million years in eternity. In my opinion, people go overboard in worrying about their last ten years on earth.”
This week I’m in Miami with five hundred of my closest friends. We’re discussing financial modeling for retirement. We’re here so that we can help people become better worriers about their last ten years on earth. Or twenty. Or 78.7, which is the life expectancy of an American male. Which brings me back the cabana man, the artist.
I think about how God makes everything beautiful in its time - how time dissolves into eternity, and how much of it we waste in the here for the now. It’s a struggle, I know, to maintain a mindset that values forever more than next. But someday soon our next will be our forever and in that moment, we’ll wish we’d invested more of ourselves there.
I will admit, this is a challenge. There are moments when I can almost see Jesus. I sense His presence in a way that I feel like I can almost touch Him. Time stands still (or disappears) in those moments. Perspective floods my thoughts and things that are important burden my soul. My heart breaks for the right things. But in most moments on most days, time grinds on and I wonder if I am the guy in Jesus’ parable that got choked by the weeds.
All this to say, I wish I had a formula to offer. You know, the kind you pick up in sermons sometimes. A cool phrase with a single action point that will make life better if you just place it on your dashboard, but I don’t.
I know only this. When I am resting in Jesus, time and its cares become less important. Things make more sense. And I can glimpse, if only for a moment, the artistry that is the cabana man.