The Matter of Mankind

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It is said by some that we die twice; once when the breath leaves the body, and again when the last person we knew forgets our name. As you consider that, think of how few people even know your name to begin with. Of the seven billion people on the planet how many of them even know you exist? Let’s say you are very popular and there are 5000 people that know you. Do the math. Five thousand of seven billion is 0.00007%. That is seven one hundred thousandths of one percent. Statistically speaking that is nonexistent. As far as the world is concerned you don’t even exist. That kind of puts Galatians 6:3 in perspective doesn’t it? “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”


Let’s say you were the most famous person in the world. I have some questions for you to consider. Who was the most famous person in the world in 317? How about 1254? Certainly we all know who the most famous person in the world was in 1671? What about 1881, or even 1979? How about the richest or most powerful in any of those years, or any year for that matter? What percentage of all the people who have ever lived have made a truly lasting mark on history, and what percentage of the world’s population even knows it or remembers it?

In the time it took you to read the previous two paragraphs 44 people around the world died. Who knows who they were? Who knows anything about them? Who knows that they ever lived? The world does not care about you. The world doesn’t even know you exist. The world did not take note when you were born, and it will not know or care when you die. It is no wonder that God tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world … And the world is passing away along with its desires” (1 John 2:15, 17).

It is this aloneness that makes the relationships we do have so important. As far as our life in this world is concerned it is only the incredibly small number of people we have a relationship with that imparts any meaning whatsoever. It is rather ironic that the great cosmologist Carl Sagan concluded in his observations of the cosmos that, “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” Solomon comes to this conclusion in Ecclesiastes when he says, “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun” (Eccl. 9:9).


David looked out upon that same vastness as Carl Sagan did, yet rather than feeling threatened by it he was awed by what it revealed about God and what it revealed about him. In Psalm 8:3-4 David said, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” When David looked upon the universe he saw the infinite power of God, and in that he recognized God’s infinite love for him. That the Creator of the heavens and the earth was mindful of him imparted significance to his life.

The world doesn’t know we exist, but God does. He created you. And more than that, He created you specifically to be who you are. Listen to what David says in Psalm 139:13-16:

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”

We are special to God, each and every one of us. You are His child and He loves you. He sent Jesus to show you that love, and to provide a way for you to reach out to Him so that you can have the one relationship that really matters. This is the most important relationship that any of us can have, and the one relationship that makes our life of any significance at all. This is why Solomon, after examining all the ways in which a person can go about living life, came to the conclusion he did in Ecclesiastes 12:13:

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.”

Some translations end this verse with, “For this is the whole duty of man.” I think that misses the mark. In the original language “matter” and “duty” are the same word. What Solomon is saying is that the conclusion of the whole matter of life is that the whole matter of mankind is their relationship with God.

Craig Bradley