Old and Almost Gone
“You should have preached about Noah yesterday!”
“No, God said He wouldn’t do that again and I take Him at His word!”
I had this exchange today with a member of the church following last week’s deluge. Later this morning while peering underneath this very old church building in a dirt crawl space I discovered some very old records. There were records of meetings dating back to the late 1920’s rotting away in the moisture with only fragments left.
This week I am attending the annual business meeting of about 800 churches which we call “Annual Conference”. I can’t help but think of that in light of those fragments of paper I discovered. Over 80 or 90 years they changed in importance. They were recorded with care to penmanship, accuracy and were stored in carefully crafted binders. No doubt they were placed on a shelf along with others and copies of them were mailed to higher authorities. Now they are just tattered scraps lying in the red clay dirt.
No doubt the meetings of this week will be conducted and the actions taken will be recorded with equal, if not greater care. The hundreds who attend will have set aside family, money, time, liesure and a host of other Priorities in order to be present and active. Eighty or ninety years from now where will the records of this week be? More importantly, where will those who attend this weeks meetings be?
As I write this it is my birthday and I am remembering acquiring trophies and ribbons for riding, grade cards with letters and comments, degrees which still hang on the walls of my office. In a hundred years where will they be?
Finding those old discarded records reminds me of what is truly important and it is not meetings, diplomas, grades, trophies and accomplishments. Those things may be important as a step along the way but not an end in and of themselves. What is important is what lasts beyond our lifetime. The only One who is capable of transporting both us, and the actions of our life, beyond our lifetime is God.
“Whatever we build on that foundation will be tested by fire on the day of judgment. Then everyone will find out if we have used gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw. We will be rewarded if our building is left standing. But if it is destroyed by the fire, we will lose everything. Yet we ourselves will be saved, like someone escaping from flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)