Enter Madonna. Madonna is also one of those phenomenons of American culture. She's one of those artists who is so popular and famous that she, as far as I know, has never needed a last name. Or is that she doesn't need a first name? A quick internet search will give an interesting answer. Her real name is Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.
That name is too long for an artist - let's stick with Madonna. Anyway, it's always been interesting to me that she and I are close in age (I know what you're thinking . . . of course she's older . . . are you kidding?!). So let's consider this age thing mixed in with a little life purpose. Hmm . . . Madonna performs for 150 million people at age 53. On Sundays I preach a sermon (sometimes with a little singing), and if I'm lucky 120 people hear me at age ____ . It would take me a hundred lifetimes of preaching to speak into people's lives to equal her numbers in one night. Our culture's conclusion: Madonna is far more important, not only than me, but also, chances are, than you too.
Yet here is what people in our culture (and Madonna) overlook: one simple act of pleasing God is worth more than an infinite number of acts pleasing human beings. Men and women are passing. Vanity of vanities to spend our lives pleasing flesh and blood. Unfortunately for Madonna, in another 50 years, she will be listed in a history book under the title (a very small title) "1980's Pop Culture." High School and College students won't want to read it, and chances are, the teacher and/or the professor won't want to test on it. So who cares? That's in 50 years. What about in 100 years?
Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes.
3 You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
The point of the Psalm is simple: we need God's perspective on life - not our own perspective. Pleasing Him is all that matters. Simple question: Do you want to please Him? If so, begin with this: intend to please Him, and do not intend to please human beings. It's amazing how far that will take you to living a life that matters.