Carl Sandburg was an American poet who won 3 Pulitzer Prize awards or poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. He was noted for his many volumes of verse and keen observations of life. When he passed away in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson said of him, “Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.” In the poem, “Who Am I?” Sandburg captures the truth of what life means. We’re all placed upon this earth for a purpose.
Another man of note, King Solomon, wrote these words in Ecclesiastes 3:10 – 15:
“I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.”
God created man for a purpose. Each of us is unique in our own way. We’re affected by many things throughout our existence and those things will in turn affect our relationship with our Creator. When God created us, everything was perfect. There was no sin. There was no hate, anger, fear, guilt. The world of God’s making had no flaws. When sin entered the world, everything changed. Our battle with truth began and our purpose was diminished. There was no way to redeem ourselves, so God provided One. He sent His only beloved Son, to take on human flesh and pay the necessary ransom for our souls. His perfection was the asking price. The perfect unblemished lamb, Jesus, Christ, was the only One who could carry our sins to the grave.
So who are we, in the scheme of things? What is our purpose in this life? I think the key phrase in Ecclesiastes is this – God does it so that people will fear him. Fear, in this context, is meant as reverence and awe. When we look at God in this way, to honor and praise Him, we are showing Him the greatest respect. Yet even our act of reverence isn’t going to earn us a place in heaven. Our works and deeds mean nothing, unless they are done for the benefit of others and without fanfare. Our good works are a result of what God has done through us.
So, who are we? We are God’s handiwork – not puppets or sculptures of stone. We are created in a way that defies modern medicine. The intricacies of our bodies are so complex, they probably will never be fully understood. We have been enriched with a mind that can reason, solve problems, invent and create. We also have a soul that was purchased at a great price. Now it’s our time of grace – appointed by God Himself, to benefit the rest of creation. He has a purpose for each one of us and He will show us what that is as we continue through this veil of tears. When we see Him on Judgment Day, we will understand completely.
Carl Sandburg is definitely one of the more readable modern poets I’ve encountered. Of course I also like him because he immortalized Chicago. J.
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Both Sandburg and Solomon invite us to become teachable learners. In doing so, we can immerse ourselves in discovering Truth. It will be a lifelong journey.
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