- JESUS: The Series (Season 3)
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Have you ever seen the show on the History Channel called “Life After People?” It’s all about what would happen to our cities if the human race suddenly disappeared. New York City would crumble and be a jungle after so many years of being abandoned. It’s really a haunting show. It reminds us that the things we build won’t last forever.
Many of you have probably read the account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. God had commanded Adam and his descendants to have kids, spread out, and fill the whole earth with people. But like we often do, these people did not obey God. A group of them found a nice place to live and they all stayed there and became a large city.
“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” – Genesis 11:4
Under the leadership of a ruler named Nimrod, they decided to build a monument to themselves. They wanted to make a name for themselves. This tower may have also been used as an observation tower to study and worship the stars. At this time all the people on the earth spoke one language. These people were guilty of the sins of pride and disobedience. God judged these people for their rebelliousness. He made them speak different languages so they would be forced to separate in groups that could understand each other. The word Babel means to confuse. These rebellious people are the precursor to the city of Babylon.
Even today we build monuments to ourselves. People still like to make a name for themselves. For example, some of the tallest buildings have been named after people: Willis Tower, JP Morgan Tower, Trump Tower, Bloomberg Tower, Woolworth Building, and Carnegie Tower. We like to build monuments to the best of us as well like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Monument, Mount Rushmore, and Jefferson Memorial.
We love to sing the praises of the human race. We love to worship humanity’s greatest achievements. It gives us a sense of pride. One day none of these things will matter.
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
A thousand years from now, some of the things that you think are so important are not going to be so important. Here is a list of things that won’t matter in eternity:
Your good looks
Who won the Super Bowl
The make and model of your car
That bad hair day you had
That time someone gave you a dirty look
What your title was at work
So many things we stress about don’t matter when we take a step back and look beyond this moment. There are some things that will stand the test of time: character, love, your investment and impact on people, and your soul. But sadly many people spend their life building monuments to themselves. Just like the people at the tower of Babel, they want to make a name for themselves. Motivated by pride and disobedience, people stack bricks of money, bricks of promotions, bricks of education, bricks of being desirable, bricks of being respected, bricks of flattery.
They want to be able to look back over their life when they are old and gray and see the tower of self they built, they want to admire it and worship it. They want people to remember their name and see what they built long after they’re gone. But one day that tower will crumble and burn. Wood, hay, and stubble are going up in flames! “…fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” – 1 Corinthians 3:13
Many Christians will get to Heaven and realize what they built was a sandcastle that was crushed by the waves of time. “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:15
But “if any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward” – 1 Corinthians 3:14
Things are going to look much different in the light of eternity. Live life with the next life in mind. God has a plan for your life where you can build something that lasts. You can impact people and you can change lives. Instead of a tower to self, God’s will is for you to build an altar to Him and sacrifice your dreams, your wants, your plans. Instead of making a name for yourself, His plan is to spread His name to the world, His love, His gift of salvation. What will stand the test of time in your life?