All you haves and have-nots, All together now: listen.
I set plainspoken wisdom before you, my heart-seasoned understandings of life.
I fine-tuned my ear to the sayings of the wise, I solve life's riddle with the help of a harp.
So why should I fear in bad times, hemmed in by enemy malice,
Shoved around by bullies, demeaned by the arrogant rich?
Really! There's no such thing as self-rescue, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
The cost of rescue is beyond our means, and even then it doesn't guarantee
Life forever, or insurance against the Black Hole.
Anyone can see that the brightest and best die, wiped out right along with fools and dunces.
They leave all their prowess behind, move into their new home, The Coffin, The cemetery their permanent address. And to think they named counties after themselves!
We aren't immortal. We don't last long. Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)