On the occasion of his 80th birthday, John Quincy Adams was asked how he was doing. He replied, “John Quincy Adams is well. But the house in which he lives at present is becoming dilapidated. It is tottering up on its foundation. Time and the seasons have nearly destroyed it. Its roof is pretty well worn out. Its walls are much shattered and it trembles with every wind. I think John Quincy will have to move out of it soon. But he himself is quite well, quite well.” The son of our second president and himself the sixth president, he was extremely accomplished. He had excelled in just about every arena of political life, but he was devoutly religious, too. Once, he wrote his son Charles and said, “So great is my veneration of the Bible and so strong is my belief, that when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to making men good, wise, and happy.” He was vice-president of the American Bible Society for five years. While he was confused and ever-changing in his religious views and thinking, his famous words above reveal great clarity and biblical sense (some material via uua.org).
We spend so much time trying to preserve and maintain the dilapidated house of the body, giving relatively little thought to the resident within it. The apostle Paul said it well when he wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). At times, we forget that we are “moving out” of this old body while the soul will never die nor be destroyed. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50a), and our present bodies are not engineered for eternity. Solomon wrote, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7). We are marching toward the decline and demise of the physical body, but the soul of man never dies! May we give due and proper attention to body and soul, considering this outcome.