Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. These were the words spoken over me as the ashes in the sign of the cross were placed on my forehead. The statement lingered on as my mind ran through the implications. The Psalmist writes:
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”
– Psalm 39:4-5
Our time here is limited. James reminds us that we are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Our bodies are tents. We live as aliens in a foreign land. The Kingdom is here, yet the Kingdom is coming. This theme permeates the whole of Scripture. Yet how quickly I lose sight of this reality. How easily my eyes refocus on a different reality. How quickly my mind adjusts to carnal thinking. How longingly my affections move from the God to the gods of this world.
The ashes serve as a potent reminder. Here today gone tomorrow. My life already has a beginning date and one day an end date will be etched in stone. But there will be a “dash” joining those dates… a dash that tells a story. That story is being written now. The God of the universe holds the pen and has written me into His story.
How will I live the dash I’ve been given? There is really no other way to live the dash than with the end in sight. Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Live is worth investing in what will outlast our lives. Knowing God. Loving God. Serving God. Investing in the lives of people.
Eternity awaits. A dear friend from Nicaragua, Sister Ruby (who is right now enjoying eternity in God’s presence), would often sing…
This world is not my home I’m just a passin’ through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.