20 October 2014 - clay
It won’t happen on my watch
Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.”
Life is hard work. We not only have to worry about the day to day problems that come up, but we should also be mindful of the future and the issues and events it may possibly hold. Too often we concern ourselves solely with the present, ignoring what is to come. When doing this, we make the same mistake that Hezekiah did a few thousand years ago.
Hezekiah was the king of Judah around 720-580 BC. Caught in a moment of hubris and pride over his material wealth and military might, Hezekiah decided to show the Babylonians around his temple and his armory. When the prophet Isaiah arrived and asked him whether they had been shown everything, Hezekiah proclaimed, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.” (Isaiah 39).
Isaiah rebuked Hezekiah, warning him that the Babylonians would return one day and clean out all the treasures he had shown them, taking some of his sons and descendants with them. To this, Hezekiah agreed that it would happen, but shrugged it off saying that there would be peace and truth in his days.
Is this how we live? Is this how we govern? Is this how our churches are run? We live moment to moment, showing off all that we have built, pridefully boosting our own egos, while doing nothing that might prevent the undoing of it all in the future? In our personal lives this could be as basic as living without a will, holding no money in savings, or simply eating too much and not exercising. For our churches it could be spending a great deal of money on sound and show, but very little on discipleship and growth. For our country, it could be pushing all the hard decisions down the road to after the next election or after the next person is elected.
It could be as complicated as how we raise our children, unable, unwilling, or undetermined to show them right from wrong, that actions have consequences, and that we won’t always be there to do things for them. Our churches might operate with no clear succession plan, outside of our budget, or without reaching anyone outside of our own friends.
Why do we do this? Primarily because it is easier this way. When we don’t expect much then it isn’t difficult to achieve those expectations. When we build with the future in mind, our influence will exceed our own lifetime. Imagine if Hezekiah had immediately realized his mistake and chosen to then prepare his descendants for the coming Babylonian invasion? Would history have even recorded his disdain for anything beyond his own lifetime?
Discipline your children with their children in mind. Be the parents to them that you want to see them be to your grandchildren. Manage your finances and your health with your great-grandchildren in mind.
Have a spiritual legacy that will outlive you, sowing the seeds of faith throughout the world because of the influence that you have had. You don’t have to be a pastor at a megachurch to have that kind of influence either. Simply being a man or woman of daily prayer and Bible intake will develop that influence. Dedicating yourself and being faithful to what God has laid out in front of you will develop that influence as well.
Don’t live only for yourself. Lay the spiritual foundation for your descendants as well.