The Preacher Says....  
  The Third Act  
  Psalm 90

I met Dave B. when he was an old man. He came from Chicago and had been a radiologist in his early life. He was a great musical talent and I hired him to teach me how to play the banjo which he managed to do with a modicum of success. I would watch him pencil out a musical score on a handwritten staff–to me an amazing feat. In his ‘second life’ as a musician, he had played with Guy Lombardo’s band in the big city, before he was reduced to taking on dabblers like me. All that knowledge gone now, about banjo and about music. Gone.

I didn’t know the fashion model turned college honor student who, in an interview, was asked ‘What is your greatest fear?’ Her answer ‘That I won’t fulfill my potential.’ The divorce that followed her marriage to a famous athlete was not a helpful stepping stone to that goal–or was it?

Willy Loman, the central character in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, an unsuccessful traveling salesman who yearned for something better in life. For him nothing ever seemed to turn out right.

The lives of these three people mirror us all. Because that’s our life. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow: for it is soon cut off and we fly away. (Ps 90. 10) The preceding verse (9) in other translations read:

KJV - we spend our years as a tale that is told
NIV - we finish our years with a moan
RSV - our years come to an end like a sigh
NEB - our years die away like a murmer

Every version of the Bible is in agreement, though expressed a little differently.

Now in this drama of human life, if I leave at the end of the first act, do I get to see the third act? You can if you want to. But you must want to. In the NIV translation we read:

Teach us to number our days aright ,that we may gain a heart of wisdom., Relent, O Lord, how long will it be? Have compassion on your servants Satisfy us in the morning With your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy, and be glad all our days.

We can’t always maintain those sublime ideals, because we hold the truth in earthen vessels, but we do know how the third act will play:

He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus . . .

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish,

yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen,

but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal;
but the things which are not seen are eternal.
(2Cor 4. 14, 16 - 18).

Dave B. may or may not get to see Act 3. That’s not for us to know. We know Willy Loman will never see Act 3, because he never was a real man in a real world. The beautiful model may yet have time to redeem the time that remains for her. If she can only forget about fulfilling her own potential, a solipsistic theory that the only reality that is real is self, but rather to pursue the knowledge and wisdom that comes from above. If she will only seek the truth and embrace it, her attendance at the third act is insured