I have seen documentaries on various projects in Dubai but to witness them first-hand is a different experience. The first thing that overwhelmed me was the sheer size of the buildings. Perhaps if they were plucked and placed among the Manhattan sky line I would not react the way I do, yet in contrast to the flat sand that is visible just outside the city, they are enormous!
The site of the current world’s only 7-star hotel follows the same pattern. Resting on a small outcrop into the sea, the billowing sail shaped building dwarfs the large 5-star beach hotel nearby. The futuristic shape drives an emotional reaction in anyone coming under its shadow. Yet it is just a building.
It is just a building that will give way to the sand and wind within the next thirty years. It is built to last but lasting in this part of the earth has a start and a finish. The steel and glass looks incredible, seemingly defying nature, yet even those most ardent admirers know that its life will be dictated to by the elements.
Dubai is a land built by man in spite of the odds, yet nature always exacts a price and claims what is his. The buildings testify to man’s apparent abilities yet the final production is always waning. Thirty years ago the land was inhabited by people living in tents. Thirty years from now all the buildings standing tall will have succumbed to the very forces that harassed the first inhabitants. Where is the final production?
Some like to voice their glories and triumphs. “Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces.” (Proverbs 25.14) Producing is doing something that lasts beyond a generation and leads to eternity.
There is an alternative. The work that began years ago through relationships and journeys together still travels in your heart and mine. If you want to have an image that lasts, start with the people around you. Grace, mercy, and unconditional acceptance are things that do last forever.