Clever ad slogan. The guts of it apply to lots of things.
During the times I experienced intense church conflict in the past, the battles were weighted in my mind with what was eternally important: theological big stuff like the proper way to preach about repentance were freighted with far more spiritual gravitas than the absurd power struggle over the placement of bulletin boards in the foyer.
That was, perhaps, my first mistake. I didn’t realize that everything carried the imprint of eternity. In ways I am just beginning to understand, it was all spiritual. Even those blankety-blank bulletin boards. I learned too late just how important the trivial could become when power was at stake – and how many theological Big Issues aren’t about theology at all, but about winning instead of love.
It was the news last week of the passing of one of our former pastors that reminded me afresh that church politics net both winners and losers alike the same prize – a great big nothing. This world shrinks as we’re dying, and all the pointless power battles over preaching or bulletin boards stays here. Earthbound, temporary, eternally pointless. There is no eternal value in winning a round of church politics. The prize – the win – stays here, a shriveled, dusty plastic trophy. Trash.
The truth of this old saw holds: “We’ve only one life, `twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Love, the air and langauge of the kingdom, lasts.