I in the Sky
LIFE OF DREAMS?
Veni, Vidi, Vici. This often quoted Latin phrase, purportedly coined
by the great Emperor Julius Caesar, succinctly describes an overwhelming
victory over yet another hapless city state standing in the path of his quest
for eternal glory and recognition. In
English, “I came, I saw and I conquered”, the phrase resonates in the life of
many of us today. This was the brief but telling report sent back by the
emperor’s messengers to an adoring Roman senate craving for news of the battle.
Yet this, unfortunately, is also
the battle cry adopted by many Christians in the TJC, especially the younger
generation, who are caught up in the whirlwind pace of the 21st
century. We seek to live up the life of dreams, a life of “having it all”, of
grappling with the world and all of its glories and pleasures, through the toil
and labor of our own hands. We plunder what we desire of this hedonistic life
which we exhibit as trophies, treasured pieces to serve as memories of our conquests
and a motivation to grab even more.
Perhaps this is an overdramatized
painting, a bleaker picture than the true state of play. But if one were to
take a stroll into the digital realm of cyberspace—Facebook comes to mind—we
can see from the postings that, to a large extent, this state of affairs is
unfortunately part of the lives of many Christians: they are living to be
gratified, ever seeking, grasping, fighting and striving after; dreaming.
THE “I” WITHIN
Poor souls, indeed. Just like
Solomon who wrote Ecclesiastes, the king who had it all and lived it all, and
yet discovered it was simply not enough. Palaces, gardens, power, influence,
wives, wealth and wisdom, all promised happiness and contentment, all
represented the life of dreams, a quest to achieve the illustrious state of “Veni,
Yet none of these delivered. The
more wealth, the more worry; the more knowledge and wisdom, the more the spirit
grows tired and weary … and the list goes on. At the end of it all, if left
unchecked, if we cannot break free from the numbing influence of Satan, ours is
a life which is meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.
King Solomon of old is embodied in
the life of many of us today, always seeking, always searching and yet always
empty and unfulfilled. The route to happiness, purpose and contentment for a
Christian seems an impossibility. If Solomon, having it all, still failed to
find the answer to this question, as seen in the earlier chapters of
Ecclesiastes, what hope do we have? What, then, was the cause of old King
Solomon’s problem, which is also the root of all the troubles for those of us
who have inherited the problems of the old Solomon?
The problem lies in the “I”: “I
set my heart”, “I built for myself”, “I acquired”, “I made”, “I planted”, “I
this”, “I that”, “I, I, I”!!
The insistence of the first person
singular is striking. It is reiterated, time and time again, and it is out of
sync, discordant and in conflict with the will of the Lord. There is no other
book in the Bible that uses the word “I” so many times than Ecclesiastes in its
The problem with the Solomon of
old, and us, who would be the new Solomon, is that we keep thinking only of
ourselves, the reiterative and recalcitrant, “I”. We are unable to say “NO” to
“I”. As for happiness, purpose and contentment, we ought to know better as
Christians. We were taught that these dwell in a very different world … the
world devoid of “I”.
But we choose to refuse and reject
our lessons from the Bible. We scribe more and more in cyberspace our thoughts,
our desires, our pleasurable moments, our acquisitions, our purchases, our
grandiose plans, our extravagant meals. We scribe more and more of this great
“I” in the sky in the world of the clouded dreams. Does this not ring a bell
and sound familiar? Is this not just as old King Solomon was in Ecclesiastes
chapter two? What of this “I” … can it be tamed? Will it be saved?
SAYING “NO” TO “I”
It can, and it will, if only we
muster enough courage and strength to say the hardest word of all to “I”; that
If we lack the ability and the
desire to say “NO” to the self serving, self selfish “I”, we lose the ability
to say “YES” to a better life, a life of purpose, happiness and contentment
that which was intended by our Lord Jesus. When we say “NO” to “I”, we are
committing ourselves to a higher and greater purpose. We must reject and stay
far away from this unrepentant and domineering “I”, bound and bolted on tightly
to this dying world of man and remember, instead, to seek the will of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ who wants us free from these shackles. Unless we can
say “NO” to this “I”, we will never be able to break free from this plague
which afflicted old King Solomon and which continues to afflict so many of us
To many still in their youth and
at the peak of life, the rallying call of this age continues to be “Have it
all”. With this battle cry stems the cause of the problem that “I” can do it
all, and “I” can be and have everything, even if not all at once, but if “I”
can work for it, “I” will eventually attain it. “I” must have it. We continue
to serve the “I” as we shy away from making the hard and right choice of saying
“NO” to “I”. We fail to see or choose to ignore the irreconcilable conflict and
dilemma, that to say “YES” to “I”, is an affirmation of the self but a rejection
and refusal to accept the pathway of the Lord.
We must instead say “NO” to “I”
which translates to “No way” to a hundred desires, “No Thank You” to a thousand
temptations, and “BE GONE Satan”, as your riches in millions and the height of
the glory and fame promised are but nothing to me … NOTHING.
As the horn and trumpet of “Veni,
Vidi, Vici” sounds out loudly, please leave
the battlefield of the world to those who continue to strive for this
meaningless and fruitless life. Flee from the life of service to “I”; the “I”
in pursuit of the wind, an empty and unfulfilled life.
REMEMBERING OUR CREATOR
For those filled with youthful
vitality and vigour, seeking to carve a path for ourselves, remember now your
Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come and when you
take no pleasure in them (Ecc 12:1). Fear the Lord, keep His word and stay on
His pathway to salvation, so that, when the day of the Lord comes as He surely
will, each and every one of us will be counted as worthy to wear the crown of
righteousness. Perhaps, through the divine mercies of our Lord Jesus, this “I”
will be saved, and will not be one of those hapless billions of souls
vanquished by Satan, in the nefarious scheme to bring all of humanity with him,
the fallen angel, into damnation.
What will become of our “I” … the
chapter is left open, the journey is not finished. Many are in grave danger of
falling. That is the honest truth. Can we pull ourselves back from the brink of
this everlasting pit? Do we have the courage, strength and the moral fortitude
to overcome these trials of life?
Let us stern ourselves and resolve
to overcome this “I” and succeed where our ancestors, Adam and Eve, failed.
Bring on this new battle cry of “Jesus Christ”, our Lord and Savior, and He
will lead us ever onward.
Less of self, but More of Thee,