The first bicycle brand-new-out-of-the-box is a special moment. It stands gleaming with bright colors, clean crisp wheels, painted without a flaw and the chain is oiled just right for smooth control. Riding the first time is like flying with the wind. If the bicycle is lucky it will be washed a few times the first week. The second week is when the change takes place and after the first month a remarkable change happens. What once was carefully nurtured to retain the sparkling look of a new bike gives way to being left in the rain, paint scarred from spills and potholes and tubes needing replacement. The new wears off and time brings on rust and decay.

Everything seems to be like that. A new car smell becomes the spilled coffee, stained seats from children playing hard, paint scrapped from bumps and dings and time wears the new car down to a used car; if lucky an antique. On the other hand every antique was new once - a long time ago. We become antiques. We wear down, wear out and lose that new youthful look we had a long time ago.

The wise man said, "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them": while the sun and the light, the moon and the stars, are not darkened, and the clouds do not return after the rain; In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men bow down; when the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look through the windows grow dim; When the doors are shut in the streets, and the sound of grinding is low; When one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of music are brought low. Also they are afraid of height, and of terrors in the way; When the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets. Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wh eel broken at the well" (Ecclesiastes 12:1-6). Life changes is what the wise man is saying. Youth is replaced with growing older.

Earlier the wise man declared "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2). The nature of life is temporary, transitory and perishable. Paul wrote, "The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). The most important lesson we must learn is that life is only a brief whisper in the eternal ages to come (James 4:14). We must heed the prayer of Moses to "number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalms 90:12). When we understand the nature of transitory life we can see more clearly the reality of our eternal existence.

Everything is temporary except the promises of God (Titus 1:1-2). What belongs to God will never end. What belongs to man will change and end. The word "caducity" is being removed from modern dictionaries. It is one of many words that have lost their use in the English language. The temporal nature of our language proves the temporal nature of life. Ironically, the meaning of caducity spelled its own doom. Caducity is the "quality of being transitory or perishable" (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1986 edition). Such is life - transitory and perishable. Eternal life is without end (1 John 2:17).

By Kent Heaton

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