March 6, 2015
Yesterday was a great day. School was out, and the snow was thick and dry on the ground. Becky and I worked in the morning and around lunch decided to take our new puppy (although he is approaching 30 pounds now) for a walk. Just north of our house is a park, and all of the neighborhood boys were out having an epic snowball fight and a building a snowman. We joined in and had a blast.
But as I look outside my window this morning and I see the remnants of snow underneath the trees, it reminds me how fleeting everything that we build is. That snowman will be gone by the middle of this afternoon. Snow was just a fleeting moment in this year. It was a great day, but it is soon gone to mere memory. When you look at the whole of our lives and the whole of human history, this is the truth: they are short and transitory.
Even empires are short and brief blips in human history. Consider it this way – in 100 A.D. when Rome was spread as far east and west as the known world, would you have ever thought that Rome would be brief and transitory? In fact, if you were to look then at the recently built Roman Coliseum (also known as the Flavian Amphitheater) and look at the church of God which was small and persecuted, which would you have assumed would last? Obviously Rome. It appears large and permanent. Rome was power. Yet because we worship God who has the longest view of human history, we see that it was actually brief and, in the end, weak. It was the church that lasted for the last two thousand years and not the Roman Empire.
We are often deceived like this in our own lives. We think that the companies we work for and construct are permanent with great power. We think that the wealth we build is permanent and ever growing. We think that the political or social influence we have is going to last and remain. Nothing like this ever lasts. Now, they are not bad things. Businesses and wealth and influence are often great things, used for the building up of this world. They simply are not the most important things. They simply do not last forever. In the end, only the Kingdom of God will remain and only the Kingdom of God matters.
This is why, when we build a snowman, we don’t think that the most important task is building a snowman. Rather the most important task is playing with our children and our neighbors. We know that the snowman (along with our work and our wealth and our influence) will be here today and gone tomorrow, but the relationships that God gives – those are eternal.
Today as you are back at work or at school or in your neighborhood, keep in mind God’s perspective. We are eternal – a promise made in the resurrection of Jesus. Everything else is transitory. Building God’s Kingdom is investing in both people and the church. The church is simply the community of people that tells the story of God’s Kingdom to each successive generation. The church has lasted much longer than Rome, and it will last longer than us on this earth. This is building something permanent.