Bemoaning the Loss of the Things of the World


Rev. 18:11    And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron, and marble, 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, choice flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, slaves—and human lives.


This is a vision of the end times when there is large-scale destruction. The sad news is that the kings are lamenting their loss of power and the merchants are lamenting their loss of revenue. Along the way it seems that no one is bemoaning the loss of life. All that can be see is the loss of their fortunes and the market that will purchase their cargo. The items within the holds are listed, which include very precious things of this world. Sadly, nothing else mattered to them and they were left weeping and mourning over the fact that they couldn’t sell their goods. 


The profits mattered more than the people to the merchants. They bemoaned the loss of the things of this world, but they had no sensitivity regarding the lives of the people that had been lost. They didn’t care about the people, they only cared about themselves.

Jesus comes as the Savior of this world and helps to put everything into perspective. Eternal things matter so much more than cargo holds filled with fancy goods! People matter so much more than stuff. The lives of our family, loved ones and others matter more than all the junk that we can collect!

This past weekend I was in the Houston, Texas area which had just suffered massive flooding as a result of Hurricane Harvey. As I drove down the streets which had been flooded piles of peoples’ goods were in the front yard. For many, all of their earthly belongings had been destroyed after sitting in sewage-filled water for days on end. There was nothing to do but remove it, pull up the floors and take the walls down to the studs. The things of this world lay strewn across front yards, sometimes as far as the eye could see.

There was a great sense of loss for these people — a loss which should not be taken lightly. At the same time, none of the people I encountered had a loss of life, and in this they rejoiced. Person after person spoke of the temporary nature of the “things” that they had lost but I never heard them focusing on the loss, instead on that which had been saved. I was amazed at their positivity and resilience. 

I don’t want to belittle the loss at all, but at the same time, I’m overcome by the focus on the positive. When the things of this world have too tight of a hold on us; when getting more stuff becomes the driving force of our lives; then we will end up bemoaning the loss of the things of this world. When we begin to see the world through the eyes of our Savior, we will begin to have an eternal view, or perspective in mind.  God is at work in the new kingdom, one in which the things of the world will seem like nothing. Eventually we will wonder why we put so much stock in the the temporal. 

We must live our lives holding very loosely to the things of this world. Hold tight to your loved ones, and to the One who gave his all for us. 


Lord, please help me to live loosely connected to the things of the world. Amen. 


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