Where Are Your Monuments?

by Bryant Evans on September 28, 2014

339px-Washington_Monument_Dusk_Jan_2006What is important to a nation? Look at her monuments. In our country we raise monuments to political leaders like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and presidential libraries. We build shrines to honor wars and those who die in war like the World War II memorial or the Vietnam Wall. In our own town we honor veterans and even sports teams for their victories. Monuments show us our values and priorities. Every monument, great or small, requires an investment of time and money to build. We only invest in those things that are important to us.

God had his people build monuments too. The Lord had the Israelites build a memorial of stones taken from the Jordan River. These dozen stones commemorated the crossing of the Jordan when Israel finally entered the Promised Land (). Monuments are significant because they declare our values and publicize our priorities.

All of us are building monuments. We don’t think about it because we are not cutting stone and erecting great walls and statues. Nevertheless, we are building monuments to our personal values and priorities. Where you invest your time, energy and money proclaims what is most important to you. As you might expect, some monuments are worthy but many are not.

Monuments to Self

For some, they alone are the most important priority in life. We know this because their shrines are all about themselves. They are built to draw attention to their lives. Someone might invest heavily in clothing and jewelry to adorn themselves beautifully. A man might spend untold hours in the gym sculpting his physique. Some preachers are even known to primp and prep before a sermon not to better glorify God but to look better themselves.

Nebuchadnezzar is the Biblical example of a narcissist who built monuments to himself (). He lifted himself up through his great building projects only to be shattered in humiliation by the God of heaven. There really is no place for self-worship or self-aggrandizement in the Kingdom. We are simply servants ().

Monuments to Wealth

For many, we pursue things. We collect wealth in our accounts and material items in and around our homes. Sometimes our choices have little to do with need or value. Instead we seek to seen and noticed for our display of wealth. Our choice of automobiles, address and clothing often signifies what is most important in our lives. Our career pursuits are linked to wealth monuments because the clearest sign of job success is the paycheck.

Paul reminds us how temporary wealth can be. In he writes, “we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world.”  As tortured Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return” (). Just as we would never think of building a great war memorial out of paper, we should rethink the personal monuments we build too.

Monuments to God

It is also possible, and desirable, to build monuments to God. This is akin to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount encouragement to store up treasures in heaven and not on earth (). Just as we build shrines here to our values, we also build up monuments in heaven. Unlike earthly constructs the heavenly monuments are lasting and eternal. They neither age nor corrupt. Even the Washington Monument, at 555 feet of granite, marble and gneiss, will one day collapse. But our heavenly monuments never tarnish and never fade.

We build these monuments to God through our faith, dedication, attitudes, worship and money. The one who skimps toward God in any of these areas lessens the memorial he offers to God.  Paul calls on us to present our very lives as a living sacrifice ().

I wonder, how’s your heavenly monument coming along?

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.
Print Friendly

4:1 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (ESV)

28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. (ESV)

10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (ESV)

for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. (ESV)

21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (ESV)

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (ESV)

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (ESV)

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Chasing Nothing

Solomon knew something about vanity. The third king of Israel repeatedly declared almost everything in life to be a “vanity of vanities” (). He knew that most things in life bring only brief pleasure. Even good things like hard work only produces goods for someone else to enjoy (). His thoughts, in Ecclesiastes, seem dismal […]

Print Friendly
There’s more, please continue reading –>

The Precious Church

There is no group of people more precious than the church. Predicted by prophecy (; ) the church is the collection of the saved who have been gathered together by the decree of God. The church is precious and perfect. Sinners, saved by Christ, fill the church. They bring their weaknesses and imperfections with them […]

Print Friendly
There’s more, please continue reading –>

Is Suicide A Sin?

If you know me, you know I do not judge the eternal destiny of individuals. That is God’s job and I am happy to leave it to him. My knowledge is never complete so I observe and warn but do not presume to judge. That’s especially true with suicide victims. There are some who teach […]

Print Friendly
There’s more, please continue reading –>

The Struggle

Almost everything in life is a process. Our physical growth is a process occurring over decades. Education is a process spanning years and years. In the same way, spiritual development is a process. It takes time to purge the bad habits and develop new, godly habits. Sometimes we become impatient with ourselves and with others […]

Print Friendly
There’s more, please continue reading –>