My wife and I were passengers on the Cruise Ship ‘Fantasy’. We watched as the ship’s captain skillfully piloted the large vessel into a beautiful new port called Mahogany Bay. Because the port and pier area was of recent construction, it looked fresh and clean, unlike many ports of older vintage. Most of the older ports are of industrial grade. Their design was for utility and function and not as cruise ship ‘eye-candy’. The visual attractiveness of Mahogany Bay testifies to the attention given to appearance in this up-to-date port of call.
Once we we disembarked, it was only a short walk along the pier until we were standing at the appealing entrance into the shopping village. The walkway ascended a small hill that was lined with beautiful trees and foliage. The plaza was adorned with sparkling fountains, beautifully painted buildings, and decorated alcoves. There was a sky lift to transport visitors above the trees, across a scenic inlet, and finally depositing passengers on a well-manicured beach (for a $14 fee). A nature trail also curled around the hill top. It was replete with stunning tropical flowers, an unimaginable variety of trees and bushes, and of course shaded benches where you could stop and drink in the beauty.
The centerpiece of this artificial ‘world’, owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, was naturally the shopping village. The International Diamond Store, the Columbia Emerald Store, the Mayan Jade shop, and any number of other jewelry stores were prominent. Expensive liquor stores and fancy bars that offered drinks with exotic names populated the plaza. There was also a profusion of shops offering T-shirts, souvenirs, and ‘native crafts’. Not so obvious was a buffer zone around the village and security guards to keep ‘undesirable locals’ out of this fantasy world.
So much of this temporal world in which we live, like Mahogany Bay, is artificial. The glitz and glitter that the synthetic world offers are meant to give people the illusion of ‘real’ value. Here and across the broad spectrum of our lives, the hype tries to convince people that happiness is to be found in alcohol, luxury items, expensive jewelry, and trendy clothes. The allure of sex without boundaries often draws the unsuspecting into loveless and shallow relationships, and many follow social media and dating websites that market elusive dreams.
Solomon’s wisdom echoes across the ages: “Why will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5). In addition, please hear these words of Jesus on this matter in the sixth chapter of Matthew:
- Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…
- Is not your life more than food and the body more than clothing?
- But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all these things shall be added to you.
Prayer: Lord, today help me to see above and beyond the tinsel of the temporal world. I want to set my affections on things above.
~ Brother Roy