640) Rust and Worms

     From Cotton Patch Sermons, by Clarence Jordan (1912-1969), pages 80-81.

     My daughter Eleanor used to be interested in Indian lore, and our farm is located on what was a former campground of an old tribe of Indians called the Cheehaws.  We found a lot of artifacts of various kinds there and Eleanor had always been wanting to find some burial ground.  One day, way down in the swamp, we were walking around and came upon a great mound of earth.  She got all excited, and I did too, and we ran to the house and got our picks and shovels and started excavating.  We had read that the Cheehaws always buried their dead near a creek.  This was near the creek, and it was a fairly small mound, but we were sure it would have some tremendous artifacts in it.  So we started digging.  We were carefully pulling things away, and finally, after a little while, her pick hit something hard.  I knew we had struck pay dirt then, and we went over and started brushing the dirt away.  The artifact had a curving effect to it, and we carefully unearthed it– and do you know what it was?  It was an old fender to a Model T automobile.  

      I do not know how those Indians get that Model T Ford way down there.

     The tin on that old tin lizzy was all eaten away.  Rust had gotten that.  But there was the big iron beam that outlined it enough to tell what it was.  And as I sat there (Eleanor was ready to cry at those Indians burying something like that) I got to thinking.  You know, there was a time when that old Model T fender was a pretty nice thing.  It was fastened to a nice swank automobile.  And I imagined that it was owned by some college kid, the only one of its kind on the campus.  And he would flit around all over the campus with the prettiest girl in the class by his side, going at the break-neck speed of twenty miles an hour.  He was the envy of all his peers.  

     Years passed.  The rust had eaten his fender and I presume the worms had eaten him.  

     Sooner or later, the rust and worms are going to get it all.   

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Job 21:23-26  —  One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, well nourished in body, bones rich with marrow.  Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good.  Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.

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

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O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:  Increase upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

–Thomas Cranmer  (1489-1556)

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