The Pursuit of Dust

Every time I see a truck load of crushed cars headed to the scrap yard, I think to myself, “Yep, once upon a time everyone of those cars were sparkling new on a car lot, with buyers paying tens of thousands of dollars for the right to drive them away.” As an old man when I encounter a young person who is a little haughty about their youth, strength, and beauty, I think, “One day if you live long enough, you will be old, slow, and wrinkled!” Stop chasing the dust!

Why do we pursue the dust? All that is of this world will eventually be dust. Yet, we pursue it as if it will last forever. It is all perishing before our eyes, but it is so slow that it is deceptive.

My wife and I have been blessed to live in the same house for 41 years. I am sure that in 1980 when we were anticipating our carpenter driving the last nail, I probably remarked, “In the next week or two we will be finished with our new home.” He drove his last nail and presented us with the keys to a completed house. “Ah, it is finished!”

The first week, a bird flew into one of the windows and we had to replace the glass. Since then, I have been driving nails, splashing paint, redoing plumbing, tearing out old carpet, and pushing back the jungle for four decades. Home maintenance is just another term for delaying the dust.

Money and things are a necessary evil in this world. We all need some necessary elements of water, food, shelter, clothing, and security to sustain our lives. Unfortunately, once we secure some level of fulfillment of our needs we immediately and continually look for an upgrade.

This saying from Proverbs 27:7 (NKJV) has always spoken volumes to me, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” In other words, the rice and beans were great today so tomorrow I will be looking for some filet mignon.

I’m not a killjoy, I like nice stuff too. I like tasty morsels and the smell of new car interior as much as the next guy. At some point, we just have to say enough is enough. I still scratch my head when I hear about a billionaire who has so much money that it would be difficult for him to spend his way to zero—yet he is still chasing down the next deal (pursuing the dust!). Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.

When Jesus was explaining the parables of the soils in Matthew 13:22 (NKJV), He described the thorny ground as one who receives the seed but the “cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” The “deceitfulness of riches” means the motivation for riches is a lie. Enough today will not be enough tomorrow—it is a chase that never ends until death. That which looks like chasing the next biggest and best thing is in truth, just chasing after dust.

Considering physical things, the greatest attitude we can possess is contentment. Paul stated in his letter to the Philippians (4:11 NKJV), “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Contentment is not about eventually having a surplus; it is an attitude of thankfulness with that we have today. Pursuing the dust is exhausting and futile, because if we were able to catch it, tomorrow it will not be enough and the sparkling object will eventually turn to dust.

John Wesley had three simple rules about money, “Gain all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” He lived simply and gave much of his income to help the poor.

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;/ but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal./ For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV).

So, my dear friend, stop pursuing the dust. Enjoy today and be content. You need to work, save some, enjoy some, give some away. Just remember, it will eventually be rust and dust. The things you do for others and for God are the only saving plans that are eternal. Simplify your life, be content, and quit pursuing the dust.

Yours on the Journey,

Harry L. Whitt

Pathway Outreach Ministries

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