The older I grow, the more I perceive the instability and the vanity of earthly things. Oh, why do we trouble ourselves in vain? Our life is short — dust, ashes, a dream — and in a little while, we shall taste corruption. Today you have your health, and tomorrow you lose it; today you are laughing, and tomorrow you are sullen. Now your eyes are shedding tears from an abundance of joy, and soon they will be shedding tears from pain and grief; today the economy is stable, and tomorrow misfortune strikes; today you receive good news, and in a little while bad news replaces it.
The years roll by and pass, and day by day each one of us draws closer and closer to the end of his life. Our precious time rolls by and disappears before our eyes, without our realizing, of course, what is escaping us unnoticed. For if the little child knew the worth of gold, he would not prefer to have a cheap candy instead. Doesn’t this also hold true for people, and above all me?
Man comes into the light of this world crying, he passes his life in weeping and sorrows, and he leaves the world in tears and pain. O vanity of vanities! The dream vanishes, and man awakens into the reality of the true life. No one notices how this vain life flows by—the years pass, the months roll by, the hours disappear, the moments slip by imperceptibly, and then without any warning, the telegram comes: “Put your house in order, for you will die; you will live no longer” (Isa. 38:1).
Wise is the merchant who realized the deceit of this temporal life, became wise, and sent his merchandise to heaven before the fair of life ended, in order to find it there in the treasuries of the heavenly city of God with accrued interest and dividends. Blessed is that wise man, for he will live the painless and blessed life unto the ages of ages.
Now that the sun is shining and the day casts its sweet light upon us, let us walk quickly along the road of our correction, before the night of the future afterlife overtakes us, at which time we shall no longer be able to walk. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2), cries the Apostle Paul in his immortal words.
—Elder Ephraim of Arizona