‘But time and chance happen to them all’

Published 3:18 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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By Michael Klaus
On 9/11/1998, I was in NYC with my wife for a very special anniversary trip. We had saved for the trip and lined up a babysitter to watch our young daughter, Katie, so we could explore New York City. This took months of planning, but one surprise that I did not reveal to Melanie was that we were going to have an early dinner at the Windows on the World restaurant. This was the special prize that would let us have the most spectacular view in the world as the restaurant was on the 107th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. We did the normal touristy things. We asked the busboy to take a picture with our instant camera, and we ate a meal in courses. At regular intervals the busboy, waiter, and the maître d’ would come by and ask if our service was satisfactory. We were just a little preacher and wife from a small town in east Georgia.We were amazed, to say the least.
Three years later to the day I was out early doing ministry, came home to get my lunch, and flipped on the TV. On the TV I saw a plane hit one of the towers. Just like everyone in the U.S., I wondered what was going on. Are we under attack? Are we safe? I stayed glued to the TV for hours; I could not look away even though some of the images were tough to watch. Then, one tower…and then the second tower crumbled to the ground. At that moment this worldwide news story became personal. I thought of the nice Hispanic man who came to my table back in 1999 and brushed French breadcrumbs from my table and filled my water glass. I met him. I saw his face and wondered if he was working that morning. What about all the other employees?Were they in the towers? Were they putting the elegant tablecloths out, preparing for a normal day?
I remember 9/11 not for all the horror that went on that day but for all the humanity that was about to leave this planet. As bodies were in rubble, their souls went to rest either with God or were separated from God. Evil men did this, but Godly brave men helped, rescued, and took care of their fellow man. There were no race problems that day. No gender equity was needed. Only desperate souls reaching out to other desperate souls asking for help.
Folks, we live in a fallen world, and we should reach out and be kind to the busboys and the businessmen alike. Our time here is fleeting.
I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. – Ecclesiastes 9:11

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