What is the point of "making it" or "having a name" if it doesn't have deep-seeded meaning or lasting impact? I can't get this image out of my mind - of vast sandcastle kingdoms that won't last, that cannot be transferred to beyond the grave. I knew our trip to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado would be incredible, but I did not expect it to move my heart in such a powerful way. I cannot escape the imagery and it's parallel to life. The sand seemed unending. Peak after peak continued as far as I could see. In a moment, the wind would come gusting through the enormous sand mountains and valleys, changing the landscape and reconstructing the best way to climb to the top. Does that not sound like our world? One moment success is xyz, the next week the world is different, changing the path to the top by something as small as an Instagram algorithm. What if it is all gone tomorrow? What happens when the "names" and "fame" that has been constructed around a grand facade, is all gone in a moment? What then, when the great sandcastle kingdom has blown away, every piece small granule scattered in the wind?
But that wasn't all we saw. Though the sand dunes were incredibly immense, they seemed minuscule compared to the mountain heights surrounding us. Even at the top of the peak we climbed, the mountains far, far outshone our little victory over the sand hill. There was no comparison. Once we pulled away from the sand's vastness and looked back, the sand dunes seemed so small that surely it wasn't even them anymore. Perspective changes everything. On the other side of the mountains you couldn't even see the dunes anymore. They were nothing. The mountains went on and on, seemingly unending...and to think it felt like the dunes went on forever! What a lesson for my heart! I hope I do not soon forget those images. I took a few on my camera, but they are nothing and take in just minuscule sliver of what it was like in person. The grandeur of the dunes, though they struck me with awe were like ant hills compared to Pike's Peak - where I was physically left breathless from the heights, unable to even appreciate the vastness surrounding me due to lack of oxygen.
On the flight home, I immersed my mind and heart in the memories of our experiences. It wasn't long before I was brought to Jesus' parable in Matthew 7 about building a house on the sand vs. on a rock. I want to build a life on the mountain not the dunes. The sandcastles, tottering kingdoms of the temporal world that surrounds me has great appeal. You can climb high. You can go far. You can "make it" and have a name for yourself in the little sandcastle kingdoms. In the middle of the dunes, that may be all you can see - the mountains just out of view. But that is not all there is to life, for the mountain range is just beyond. I don't want the world that is constantly shifting, moving and leaving us all with unsteady footing. I want to build on the Mountain, though it is hard, rocky ground that requires much toil to make anything. It's long, arduous work and can feel unrewarding when I start at the bottom of that hard ground, while others take the softer, less steep climb to the top of their sandcastles. But the rock will last - building upon Christ will bring rewards into eternity. The road is hard here, but after all, the here and now is only a blink, and then eternity. So that is what I am working for, a Kingdom that will not be shaken. I will spend it all, stake my life here and my eternity on the Steady Ground, the Firm Foundation, the Everlasting to Everlasting and the One that has no end. So call me blind, call me a fool as others build kingdoms made of sand. I risk it all on the Mountain, though I know it is the harder road, unpopular, and leads away from fame, glory and "making it" for my own name. Let my glory, my name be forgotten and buried in the sand, for I will soon be gone, my life like a shadow that passes in the day. Only one name outlasts them all. Only one Kingdom will stand the test of time. And that is the Kingdom I choose to live for each day, and Jesus the name I will shout with every breath until I take my last.