As I write this, I sit in a crowded coffee shop. People are laughing in conversations, baristas whisk about their duties, cooks prepare sandwiches, and customers stand in line awaiting their orders. The crazy reality is despite all of this life, vitality, and energy which courses through this cafe today, this establishment will one day—whether near or in the distant future—be a vacant building. Cobwebs will own the space, until finally the structure will be destroyed to rebuild into something new. A day will come when pictures are the only memory of this shop.

It will be dust.

It is not only the fate of this shop. The same is true with us. We also grow old and pass like smoke.

I think sometimes we become so wrapped up in our daily business: our sales calls, Starbucks runs, kid’s soccer practices, and business meetings, we forget all things atrophy. This sobering reality could be depressing. We live in a culture where we strive to eternalize ourselves. We eat right and work out to live longer, we post to social media to engrave our memory like initials in trees. Whenever we hear the truth of our mortality and transience, we often seek to ignore or suppress it. In the Psalms, the writer says, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow” (Psalm 144:4). I think if we were honest, our temporariness makes us uncomfortable. Our life is short. I once read somewhere that our life is just a dash between the two numbers on our tombstone. The breath between birth and death.

We all one day become dust.

This thought could lead us into nihilism—the idea which believes nothing matters so there is no point in trying to live moral, upright lives. But what if this truth did not make us live as though life were meaningless, but rather point us toward living a different story altogether. What if our toil and striving was no longer for our own crumbling kingdoms, but for a Kingdom that is coming, one which is unshakeable.

There is this quote in the book of Hebrews where the writer recounts the faith of those who have gone on before us. The writer says,

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

(Hebrews 11:13-16)

According to this text, the people who have found meaning in this life, the ones who made an impact, realized they were nomads seeking a homeland. Their eyes were fixed on the Kingdom Jesus was bringing through the Gospel. They were able to lift their eyes above only seeking the kingdom of a better salary or a prettier house. Their eyes were not set on acquiring fame, political power, or climbing the corporate ladder. Their hearts were set on building a much different kingdom, the Kingdom Christ was building.

So what about you today, what are you worried about? What causes you stress? Are you running in circles chasing after the kingdom made of dust? The Gospel invites each of us to lift our eyes to a better kingdom. One where rust does not corrupt and thieves cannot break in and steal.