Apocalypse Now was one of the historic Vietnam War movies starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen in 1979. The story was about tracking down a maverick colonel who went rogue and set up his own kingdom in Cambodia where he was running operations. Most of the movie was traveling through the jungles. About half way through the movie they stopped at a French chateau in a remote border region between Vietnam and Cambodia.
Off the beaten track where Lonely Planet guide books dare not even travel, I know of an abandoned French Plantation house. It sits up on the spine of a hill called “Crocodile’s Back”. From its perch on the cliff you can almost see all the way to Saigon in the east and looking to the west you can see far into Cambodia as well. When I first found this shell of a plantation house, it was surrounded by 100 year old rubber trees, probably planted by the old French owner. The property is still surrounded by pine trees which are not quite old and large, but the vegetation has overgrown the whole property. The weeds are taller than most people!
Walking around the old chateau, with its five bed rooms, you can imagine the grandeur and glory that it once was. The huge doorways and windows which open from floor to ceiling brought a wonderful breeze through the building. The location is amazing. There is a large main staircase and a small servant’s stair case tucked away in the kitchen.
When I see such a place, I cannot help but think of what the people who lived here were like. How shocked they would be to see it now. A ruin perched up high on the hill. Now it is only a skeleton. The war has long since run off the inhabitants; the plantation that they grew from tiny shoots has all been obliterated by chainsaws. Invading Armies have probably used the house as their command posts, both Viet Cong, American, Khmer Rouge and Cambodian, but they too are all gone now from this remote jungle mountain top.
How many churches have a similar fate and people’s lives that are in ruins? They are empty cathedrals and beautiful scenic buildings, yet there are no more people. They are only empty stones. I am sure the owners dreamed of passing on their children and running the plantation for generations. All was lost. It was lost because of Apocalypse Now. Wars. Violence. Sin. The constant work of the evil one for death and destruction. We really only have NOW to act. None of us knows about the future. If you are waiting to do something for God in the future: like when the economy picks up, or when you retire. . .just think of this abandoned chateau on the remote mountain top. It symbolizes lost dreams. The time to serve God is now. The time to accomplish your dreams is now. If you don’t act now, certainly, the jungles of this world are eventually going to encroach on your life and turn you into ruin. Act now!