For you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19b
This Lenten Season is an opportunity for us to look with expectancy towards Easter morning- to prepare our hearts for the celebration of what God has done for us. It is also a time for us to acknowledge our humanity, our frailty- our desperate and dire need for salvation.
The truth is, on our own we don’t amount to much. The psalmist reminds us of this often: in Psalm 103 he proclaims:
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” (Psalm 103:15-16 ESV)
Our lives are short. Like Adam we come from the same organic material that is found in the soil. When we die we will return to that same ground. And the time in between is but a blink of an eye in the span of all eternity.
Our GOD is everlasting. His name is eternal. He is a strong foundation, a sure tower. Our GOD is loving, merciful, slow to anger and full of compassion. He sees our weakness. He knows our frailty. Psalm 103:14 states “For he knows our frame, he remembers that we are but dust.” (ESV) Yet in his mercy, God gave us a gift, his very best gift. He gave us his Son. He gave us Jesus.
On our own we are nothing. On our own we are plagued with a universally fatal illness- humanity. Yet just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and the Israelites that looked upon it were healed, so also Jesus was raised up on a cross so that we also might look upon Him and be saved. We were all born under the curse proclaimed on Adam in Genesis 3. We all are dust, and return to dust. Jesus came into this dusty world of people and took on our humanity so that we might celebrate with Him for all eternity in Heaven.
So how do we live right now, in the in between? How do we live here on earth acknowledging that we are all human, while simultaneously recognizing that we are living for an everlasting Kingdom, a Kingdom that will never end?
I spent 6 months last year in Kipkaren, Kenya, a small community where just about every one you meet is a subsistence farmer. I arrived in April, and everywhere I went I would see whole families out on their small plots of land; tilling, plowing, preparing the soil. The seeds were planted. Time passed, we prayed for rain when there were dry spells, and the stalks of maize sprouted up from the ground. As the months passed by those stalks grew up above my head, and ears of maize peaked out from the eaves. The time came to harvest. Oh that fresh roasted maize tasted so so sweet.
We may be dust, but we are also soil. God wants to plant himself in us. He wants His Spirit to produce amazing fruit, Kingdom fruit in us. But first we must allow Him to. We must let ourselves recognize our desperate need for Him, and recognize that Him in us is the only way for our life to matter. Our lives may be brief, but God’s work, God’s harvest lasts for eternity. Take a moment. Allow your heart to be good soil. And ask that God might work in you- to allow His kingdom work to be done through you.