I don’t know about you, but I am decidedly NOT good at gardening. Don’t get me wrong, we have one at my house, but I’m best fit to dig holes and mow lawns, not tend things and feed them well to make them grow. Not my department, but my wife is good at it. One thing I have noticed is that as the summer wears on it gets more and more difficult to keep my grass green. As I consider our rather unhealthy backyard it reminds me of a biblical image that Peter uses from Isaiah 40:
1 Peter 1:23-25 …since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Even though it hasn’t been too hot this year my grass is still not doing so well. When my grass does grow and I wait too long to mow, the grass can flower. Peter likens our existence to the grass – we are here for a season, and then we wither and die. We are temporal and frail, subject to decay. Perhaps you feel this rather keenly – you are personally acquainted with the withering that Peter talks about. Really, whether we know it or not that is everyone’s experience. Everyone is dying – we are all just at different places on that road. Peter wants to bring out this reality and place it before us so we might have a proper view of self, lest we think we’re invincible. This is meant to put us in our place. As Moses says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
But Peter is also showing us what is often called the “Creator/creature distinction.” In contrast to our weak and temporal existence, the Word of God is eternal – it “remains forever.” This eternal Word gives us life, even though we are a blade of grass preparing to wither and die on the outside. Someone once said, “There are only a few things that will live forever: God, His Word, and the souls of men.” While we are not eternal, our souls will go on forever. This certainly tells us what is really important! Eternal realities are what really matter; everything else will not last. What should this do in us? It should urge us to attend to those important, eternal matters – seek God, take hold of His Word, attend to our souls! We spend so much time spending our energies on things that will have no bearing on eternity. Don’t get me wrong; there are normal things we must do every day. But things can be done by us with eternity always in view. WHY and HOW we do the mundane makes all the difference.
The apostle Paul tells us this:
2 Corinthians 4:16 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Though we are all (at various stages) experiencing outward decay (physically, because our flesh is like grass), we can be encouraged because inwardly we are being renewed. How? Peter tells us: “…The word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (v. 25).
So what are you pursuing today? Do those things hold the weight of eternity? Let’s take hold of those things and pursue those things that will last forever.