I know, intrigue probably is the main motivation behind you clicking the link to this blog post. But it’s true. You won’t be. You will be just like the men and women in black and white photos; a photo of someone who has a name but really no relevance (to you anyway). Isn’t that comforting? Isn’t that encouraging? Isn’t that empowering and emboldening?
*Insert another sarcastic phrase here*
In a click-baiting, view-counting, trend-seeking, and share-happy, selfie world, our current culture balks at the notion of being forgotten. Yet, ironically it is so familiar with it at the same time. On one hand, there is so much time spent trying to be discovered and recognized while also there’s the sober reality of not ever being seen or recognizable. We don’t want to be forgotten. We don’t want to feel like nobody ever knew us. Yet for those of us with exorbitant amounts of attention and influence, the fear is still the same. We do not want to ever feel the loneliness that we once experienced.
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
We want our worth to be recognized, we want to be known, we want to be exalted, we want to be worshipped. For once, we want to know what it’s like to be God. We want people to see our greatness on display. After all, we are so spectacular; nobody can do what we do. Not like us! We like the feeling of someone looking up to us instead of around us or above us to someone else. We spend untold amounts of time planning our social media posts to be attractive; ensuring our grammar is correct and setting the right filter on the pictures to protect our blemishes and “bad sides”. We make sure that we appear flawless and happy, always succeeding in everything we do. We display our excellence for the world to see and recognize, either to be ignored or hailed; analyzing the “likes” and “hearts”. But it only lasts until the page is refreshed, until the person’s mind says “next.” Then we wash, rinse, and repeat. We have become proverbial beggars, seeking the attention of others in order to feed our self-interest at the expense of something else. We have exchanged appropriate worship of God, our Creator, for the thing created. We have esteemed the applause and approval of others greater than that of the King of Glory, and we settle in our own wake, spiraling into a despair that is difficult to explain and nearly impossible to cure.
But there’s good news. There’s a cure! There’s a way to climb out of this quicksand! It’s called: truth. What truth is it that we must hear to be delivered? What medicine is there for us? What prescription can we fill to find relief? This is it:
You will be forgotten
Yes. You will be forgotten. No one will remember you. After you die, you’d be fortunate to be remembered by your children’s children, but once they grow old and die, you will be nothing more than a picture on the wall as an ancestor that once lived and died. Your life was but a vapor; a breath vaporizing in the cold air to dissipate into the cold, dry sky of vanity. Death will capture your memory and forever hide it away to never be seen again; buried underneath the dirt of time. You will be forgotten.
How does this help?! How in the world does this give us hope? Easy. This gives you the ability to live life backwards; to cultivate a life prepared for the one to come. The life that is to come is the one that truly counts and has value. It’s the understanding that all things of this world and its pleasantries are but dust. I think the Preacher in Ecclesiastes probably put it best
“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:1-4
This helps us to no longer seek empty pursuits that will not bear fruit that lasts for eternity. We will be forgotten in this world. But the hope in this is that we can also be known. We can be known by a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Once He knows us, we can never be forgotten. We won’t be forgotten, because the One who knows us is eternal. And to be known by Him is to have the highest value that could ever be obtained. Being known by Him is unrivaled and no amount of the world’s goods can rip away the affection we experience by knowing Him and being known by Him.
Does He know you? Do you know Him? Do you value Him the most? Or do you seek the vanities of this world, the attention, the fame, the pleasures, or do you value the approval of the One who esteemed you higher than Himself by dying for your rebellion on a cross?