As a young school boy, I began a lifelong fascination with Alexander the Great. I was bored with whatever my teacher was expounding on (probably mathematics which remain a mystery to me yet today) but out of boredom, I snuck a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica off a nearby shelf. I soon found myself engrossed in the life and achievements of Alexander. Two and a half dense pages told of his vast conquests and heralded his exploits! This was probably a volume of the encyclopedia from the 1940’s but a look at a current version will show that Alex no longer merits the same number of lines. So many other events have occurred that his once formidable legacy is ever shrinking.
If Al who conquered the whole known world before he was thirty and his legacy is shrinking year by year, and he may soon be surpassed by a Kardashian, what is my hope, or yours, to live a life of significance? I believe we are each created with an impulse to be significant and to make a difference with our lives. Yet the incredible shrinking legacy of Alexander gives us little hope that we will have an impact that lasts beyond our obituary.
This pessimism is merited if we measure our impact according to the metrics of this current world. If we invest our lives in the things that don’t last then the idea of leaving anything lasting is foolish indeed. With this thought in mind I cast about looking for things that do last and I came up with a short list.
Jesus says the word of God stands forever. Time and energy invested in learning and communicating his word then is an investment that outlasts the rust and moth and thieves.
Love lasts! The eternal God describes himself like this, “God is love”. Of Paul’s three things, faith, hope, and love, only love remains eternally. Time and energy invested in love are guaranteed to be of eternal profit.
People are made for eternity! Care for people especially needy people is an investment in significance. I am convinced that loving people and sharing the Good News of God’s love with people is the intention of our Creator, for our lives. I have this God given appetite for significance that is doomed to frustration apart from apart from his design for meaningfulness.
The world will little note this effort or these activities and I am alright with that, as long as I know that I am investing in the things which outlast this tired old world, with its fleeting and ever shrinking legacies.