Nov 24 2013

Leaving a Mark

_CES0115This afternoon I spent some time at Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In this national park unit one can see hundreds of petroglyphs.  These etchings in stone come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes.  Each, however, was left behind by someone a very long time ago for one reason or another.  A few days ago I was at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona and there, too, saw numerous petroglyphs and pictographs.  These etchings and drawings were, likewise, varied in size and shape and left behind by ancient Native Americans for one reason or another.

Basically from the beginning of humankind people have left evidence of their presence by carving or painting on stone.  Perhaps in some cases the reason was to tell a story.  In other instances it may have simply been the desire to be creative.  As humans we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and I believe that part of what that means is that we, too, are creative individuals.  It is likely that some of the etchings and paintings that have been left behind are religious in nature.  Their origin may have been expressions of worship. _CES8907Thinking about the petroglyphs and pictographs I’ve seen in the past week I have concluded that all of us leave a mark behind us.  It is inevitable.  The mark we leave behind may be intentional or accidental, but we will, in fact, leave a mark.  I would argue that we should by all means strive to be intentional about this and that the mark we leave behind ought to be a positive one rather than a negative one.

Do you know what kind of mark you want to leave behind?  I would hope that mine would include pointing others to recognize the goodness of God revealed in both Creation and the Scriptures.  I want my mark to be one that leaves this world better for my having lived here.  I hope that my photography will always be a reminder to people of the awesomeness of God’s Creation and that it will inspire people to take better care of the earth.  I hope that my life will somehow be a reflection of God’s love.

_CES9010If you haven’t given consideration to what kind of mark you want to leave behind I hope that you will.  Doing so may help you be more intentional with what you do with your life.  You will be remembered for something.  What will that something be?


(The images shown here were taken at Canyon de Chelly N.M. and Petroglyph N.M. the past few days.)

Jan 19 2011

Created For Work

trumpeter swans 504The Sunday School class I teach has been studying John Ortberg’s latest book, The Me I Want to Be.  The last couple of chapters we’ve looked at have to do with our work or vocation.  At one point Ortberg writes, “God says in Genesis that human beings are to ‘rule’ over the earth, or to exercise ‘dominion.’  We often think of these words in terms of ‘dominating’ or ‘bossing around.’  But the true idea behind them is that we are to invest our abilities to create value on the earth, to plant and build and write and organize and heal and invent in ways that bless people and make the earth flourish.”

Although some people view work as drudgery we were created to work.  This may even be a part of what it means to be created “in the image of God.“ (Genesis 1:26-27)  The God who works made us to work as well.  Now obviously work can be understood in a variety of different ways but the truth remains that we are all supposed to use the gifts and abilities God has given us in fruitful service one way or another.

frosted cow parsnip 360Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “When you arise reluctantly in the morning, think like this: ‘I arise to accomplish a human task.  Should I then complain, when I am about to do that for which I was born, and for which I was placed on earth?  Or was I created to pamper myself under the blankets, even if that is more pleasant?’  Were you born, then, to enjoy and, generally to feel, but not to act?  Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees who all perform their own tasks and in their own way helping to let the cosmos function?  Don’t you then want to do your work as a human?  Don’t you hasten to do what is befitting your nature?”

Aurelius’ words remind us that even plants and animals have work to do.  God has fashioned them and given to them what they need to do this work.  Pay close attention to nature and you will see this is true.  In the same manner, God has made each of us to work and given to us what we need to do the work He created us for.   Our lives will be fuller and the planet healthier if we will “invest our abilities…in ways that bless people and make the earth flourish.”


(I took the two pictures above last winter while visiting Yellowstone National Park.)