If I were to descibe a single way that our culture doesn't fall in line with Scripture, I would say that it is the notion of servanthood. We take pride in ideas like independence even when the Bible tells us that we are all branches that must cling to the vine. We are told to pursue the American dream when the Bible tells us to walk in the Spirit. We are told that "it's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees" but Christ told us that "As surely as I live, every knee will bow before me."
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
This week, I was reminded of the fragility of the kingdoms we build for ourselves. I was supposed to go to my Monday morning class at UH but before leaving my house I received a call from my former soccer coach and current coaching mentor. He was almost in tears so I rushed to his house to speak with him. Now my coach has been through a lot in his life. A professional soccer player from Romania, he escaped political persecution with his wife and sought asylum in the United States. He came to this country with nothing but managed to build two of Texas' most influential soccer clubs and taught soccer to many of the current A-list coaches. I played under him and that's where he encouraged me to use my energy and talents to change the lives of students just as he has. So why did he call me? A school that had named their field complex in his honor threatened donors that if they didn't invest in other programs in the school, they would take his name off of the field. In many ways, he sees this as the tearing down of his life's work.
Solomon struggled with the same notion and wrote about it in Ecclesiastes. A king with vast knowledge and resources, he was torn over the notion that everything he had would eventually be given to someone else after his death and would turn to do dust. He finally came to the conclusion that the only thing that matters is what is eternal. He sums it up well when he proclaims, "For whom am I toiling?"
Something or someone is the master of your life and I hope that someone is Jesus Christ. What you build up for yourself as the master of your life will crumble but what God can do in your life will resonate through generations. My coach's name may not be remembered in 100 years but the lives he changed will impact hundreds of people that will never meet. Members of COTHA, do you cling to the vine that is Christ? Are you going to die on your feet in your kingdom built of straw and costly stones or will you bow to will of Christ and be a servant in the kingdom that will reign eternal?