DayBreaks for 8/08/17: What Are You Building?
From the DayBreaks archive, 8/8/2007:
In the San Jose area of California stands an impressive house, but it has a strange history. It’s called the Winchester Mystery House. It was home to the widow of the inventor of the Winchester rifle, and after he and their only child died, Mrs. Winchester seems to have gone crazy. At the very least, she became obsessed with the occult. As a result, she began a huge building project that would last 38 years – and then it only stopped because she died. Based on statements and things she wrote, she apparently came to believe that as long as she kept building on the house, that she would not die.
For 38 years, sixteen carpenters worked full time on the house. At its largest expanse (it has since been partly destroyed by fire), the house contained 2000 doors and 160,000 windows (that’s more windows than are in the Empire State Building.) Two front doors were installed at an incredible price of $3000 (a huge sum of money in those days), and yet those doors were only used 1 time – by the workmen who installed them. Throughout the building are secret passageways, stairways that lead only to the ceiling and no further, doors that open into solid brick walls. All of this was designed for one purpose: to confuse death. To prevent death from finding her.
It didn’t work. Construction was still going on when death found and overtook her. “Death wasn’t confused at all. Death has a wonderful sense of direction.” (Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason)
Why are we such a busy people? No one has ever moved faster than we do, yet it seems that we accomplish less and less. But why are we so busy? Perhaps because we’ve made poor choices and we have to work two jobs to make ends meet. Or, maybe it’s deeper than that. Maybe we scurry about so in order that we don’t have to think about death, maybe at some subliminal level we (like Mrs. Winchester) believe that as long as we stay busy, we’ll keep on living. We may fear that the moment we stop, we’ll collapse and die, or that we’ll have time for thoughts about death and dying will enter our heads and we try to prevent that by staying busy.
Ortberg continues: “…don’t forget one thing. Don’t forget that the truck will come one day and take it all away. Don’t forget that one day Death will come. It will not be confused. It will know just where to look.”
Wouldn’t we all be a lot wiser to give more thought to our demise and the condition of our lives and souls at that point in time?
Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 (NIV) – A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.
Every day you are building something. The question is, will what you are building last beyond the rim of this world?
PRAYER: Father, we struggle to find contentment, thinking we can find it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. Teach us to be content with what we have in this world, but to never be content in how much we have of You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>