It’s easy to become obsessed with kingdoms of this world. Think about all the things we humans tend to gravitate towards. Sports teams, political parties, building campaigns, retirement accounts… we love to be apart of building and/or hitching our wagons to great legacies here on this planet. I think people have pretty much always been this way, at least since our first parents Adam and Eve decided they would root their lives in this world and in their own sovereignty rather than rooting their lives in God. From the legendary city builders of old, to the Tower of Babel, to the great empires, the nation of Israel, and to those who first drempt the American dream… we are attracted to things in this world that seem to make our lives more significant. It’s why we get so passionate about sports and politics too. We feel good when we are a part of a winner or at least something bigger than ourselves.
Once Jesus was walking with his disciples and they began marveling over the city of Jerusalem and it’s wonderful buildings, especially the temple (Luke 21:5-9). I sort of relate to those guys. I find myself marveling over cool architecture, art, and athletic feats of strength regularly. Jesus has this way of just putting things into proper perspective for us. These guys are basically like, “wow Jesus, look at how stinking cool this place is,” and Jesus, like only he can do, pretty much says, “yeah… I’m going to destroy all of this so it’s not really that big of a deal.” That must have been more deflating than a New England Patriots equipment manager.
What’s the deal? Why wouldn’t Jesus simply enjoy the city with his disciples? I think it’s because Jesus wants us to be aware that we are a part of something bigger and more critical than temporary cities and fading human cultures. I’m a lifelong Cubs fan and I’m thrilled that they are in the World Series for the first time in my lifetime. But you know what? If the Cubs win it’s going to be a very short-lived victory on several fronts. First off, as soon as they walk of the field as champions, fans and players will already be thinking about trying to win another one. Besides that, it’s baseball. A day will come in which baseball is ancient history and being only an old game, people won’t care much about it at all. There’s no intrinsic, eternal value in it.
So what does have value? Following Jesus has value. Everything in this world will meet the fire sooner or later. I’m not saying we shouldn’t enjoy sports or cars or family or whatever. I am saying we should do it all with proper perspective. If Christ isn’t our ultimate treasure and the true foundation we build our ultimate significance on, we will one day see everything we built crumble to the ground.
I don’t want to be that guy. I doubt you do either. Let’s enjoy life, but let’s build our significance on Christ.