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By: Max Lucado
Submitted 22 September 1999 by Debra L. Stitt
Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves. A little boy is on the beach. On his knees he scoops and packs the sand with plastic shovels into a bright red bucket. Then he upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created.
All afternoon he will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.
Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic.
A man is in office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made.
All his life he will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.
Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come.
Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as the dusk approaches.
As the waves near, the wise child jumps to his feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles. He smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father's hand and goes home.
The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle, he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Saltwater soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide.
"It's my castle," he defies.
The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs...
And I don't know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build, but build with a child's heart. When the sun sets and the tides take -- applaud. Salute the process of life, take your Father's hand, and go home.
What a truly touching story this is. It's funny how things come to you in life. Just the other day I saw a show wherein an older lady was visiting her daughter's home. She and her daughter were talking about life. The older woman said that in reflecting on her life she noticed something very important. She noticed that we go through life worrying about things that don't really matter and once we reach our golden years we only worry about the things that children worry about. We find that we are only looking for someone to love us and pay attention to us -- that's all, in the whole scheme of things, that really matters in the end. There's someone that we know that will always love us -- JESUS! It's so very sad that so many never find the comfort of His arms and leave this life not knowing what love really is!
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