The Privilege of Doing More Things that Last
After an evening considering this privilege, I realized that it carried with it a myriad of interpretations. Certainly, one cannot view the Cistene Chapel without a sense of awe for the artist Michelangelo, read the Bill of Rights, without knowing Thomas Jefferson penned those rights, enter many libraries in the United States without acknowledging Andrew Carnagie, or enter an English Literature classroom without encountering the works of Shakespeare, Bronte, Austin and others. Others, actually many other names, came to mind as I thought about the lasting contributions people who through money, talent, dedication to a cause have made to the world.
BUT, is that really what we expect when we desire ‘doing more things that last’. Perhaps, in some ways it is.
I got my first library card at the Carnagie Library in Frederick, OK when I was six years old and spent many an hour there. Books were among my first friends and still are among my friends today. Reading allowed me to be someone else, somewhere else, and have remarkable adventures. So, Mr. Carnagie’s money did benefit me and others like me, no matter how he earned it. So he did change lives for the better long after he was gone. His name was engraved in stone on the Frederick Public Library building.
AND, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Bronte, Michelangelo, Piccasso, John Lennon, Vanderbilt, Oral Roberts, Thomas Jefferson–so many names, so many contributions to art, music, education, and government…contributions to the lives of many, to the applause of multitudes, years, even centuries later. I know among the names of contributors to civilization there are some who did what they did for purely selfish reasons, desiring to earn the acclaim, some who would find it odd that history still remembers them, and others who did what they did with joy because of what they could share with others, with how they could make the world a better place.
But, if it is for this world only, is that something that really lasts? If I am motivated to contribute so that I will get the glory or at least a page on Wikipedia, am I simply trying to secure an empty kind of immortality? Am I so scared that I will be forgotten that I must quickly figure out how to assure I will be remembered? When I write, when I draw or paint, and when I worked, I do not, did not, choose to be anonymous and I am so glad so many of my favorite writers used their names, because I want to learn about the author as well as the work.
What MOTIVATES acts that will have enduring benefit? Who am I trying to please? WHAT ACTIONS last? How am I supposed to figure all this out?
A paragraph in Jeff and Lucy Osborne’s mission update hit home with me.
“Thank you so much for your prayers as we begin to engage in the development of a new discipleship program that has God’s mission in the world as a primary pillar of the Christian walk. The goal is to help Christians to recognise that man is called to participate with God in His mission and that God is not there to support man in his own private mission.”
Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God series puts the same thought forward, “You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.”
In this my First Year of my Seventh Decade, if I want what I do to have enduring benefit beyond my life, I have to get my priorities straight…that takes frequent attitude adjustments, because I am as stubborn as an old mule…Fortunately, God is already at work in the world as he is in you and me. He still lets me choose whether I want the glory or whether I am going to glorify Him in my life. He doesn’t poke me, shake a finger in my face…he just keeps working around me and in me, until I wake up and see.
This morning I woke up and read the verse for the day from YouVersion and that led me to read the verses surronding that one. Do I want to work for the kind of world that honors God? Do I want to work with God in his mission, not invent one of my own and expect him to give his endorsement. Using the new application on YouVersion that allows me to put scripture on images, I copied it on to one that spoke of lasting peace to me.
God’s work is the only work that truly lasts. It will be marked by justice, mercy, peace, security and love…even when all hell is breaking loose. To choose to do things that last involves expressing that to the folks in my direct path and to giving to God’s work so that folks I may never see, come to know the God I know. It may be immediate action or waiting for the right time…that part is up to God.
IN THE END ONLY GOD CAN SAY WHAT THINGS WILL LAST AND WHAT THINGS WILL BURN UP!