After the first of many crops were planted early in the season, I got ready to spray off the day’s acreage for weed control.
This particular farm task is usually pretty formulaic, which often allows me some time alone with the Lord.
On this particular day, the wind was too strong so I had to wait until almost dark to spray. As I got to the field, a beautiful sunset appeared amid the dark clouds and quickly directed my mind to prayer.
As I drove up and down, row after row, I began to reflect on a few questions.
How many hundreds of acres have I traversed on a tractor over the years? Has this made any difference? When I am gone, will anyone remember me or the farm ministry? Will anyone care? What has my life actually been about? Have I spent my time wisely?
These are universal questions that arise from the human heart.
Such reflections brought to mind a great Shakespeare quote from Macbeth. In Act V, as the end is near and all is crashing down around Macbeth, he laments, “Out, out, brief candle! Life is but a poor player, who struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Wow, rarely has there been penned such a concise description to capture the futility of life without God.
Our lives are not a dress rehearsal. Every day is a fresh performance. Never mind that we don’t know the script for the day, the supporting actors or even which role we may play. Without a central theme to our lives, an essential plot if you will, we may be one who “struts and frets our hour upon the stage.” We may be prone to lurch from prideful focus on ourselves to worrying about all of life’s troubles and what might become of us. This amounts to a colossal, and tragic, waste of the gift of life the Lord has given us. Without the Lord, and the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit, our days lack unifying sense or ultimate meaning.
String a life of tens of thousands of days together without God, and yes, “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
God Has a Clear Plan
Thankfully, in contrast to the hopeless cry of Macbeth, God reveals the central theme of love, grace and salvation found in Christ throughout the Bible. All the dots of purpose and meaning are connected in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God does have an eternal plan for each of us that is presented clearly throughout his word.
In Matthew 22, the religious authorities ask Jesus to name the greatest commandment. Jesus answers them saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This command is so simple, yet so difficult to live out faithfully. Our daily mission is to love God and to reflect and share his love with everyone we meet.
The things of this world which are seemingly valuable, such as position, power, wealth, possessions, are in the end merely props in the eternal play. The abundant life promised by God does not consist of stuff. God allows us to use these props in order to magnify his message of grace, mercy, and love to a world that is desperately searching for meaning in life. It all begins with our becoming a new creation in Christ. As Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Discover the Mission
Once we relinquish the desire for control over our lives, and give it back to its rightful owner, we are ready to discover God’s personal mission for each of us.
Strutting and fretting?
The indwelling of the Spirit releases us from the tyranny of both those temptations. We lean into the story that God is writing with our lives, and we approach each new scene with a sense of anticipation for how the director will choreograph the players for surprising and glorious outcomes.
As for “sound and fury signifying nothing,” this is the noise of the enemy, who is the one spinning the tale of the idiot. This tale would have us believe that our life has no value, our relationships with others are doomed to disappointment, betrayal and deceit, and we are merely taking up space on a rock spinning in the universe.
No, we have been called by the living God to live lives of abundance, full of God’s mercy, truth and power, signifying not nothing, but everything — all pointing to the theme of his everlasting love!
This blog was originally posted on Lancaster Farming.