Have you ever wanted to make yourself known so badly that you would do absolutely anything? I know that I have. It could be absolutely anything from results to a test that you’d so anxiously been waiting for, to a phase of life that you’ve been waiting for to begin, or even a material object that you’ve been longing for.
Genesis chapter eleven starts off with the all too familiar story of the tower of Babel. If you’ve been in a church for any length of time, chances are you’ve probably heard the story at least referenced. If not, then please read it here.
Most hear this story told that humans decided to build the tower because they wanted constant communion with God. That, however, isn’t the way I read it. Verse four states that we wanted to build the tower to “…make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth.” Little did they know that their plan would backfire.
In attempt to remain on nation and to make a name for ourselves we caused the very thing we were trying to prevent. Division, separation and confusion. How often does this happen in today’s world? Far too often, if we’re honest.
How often do we work our tails off for a promotion, for it only to be given to someone else? Or worse, we end up being let go from the company? How about putting as much heart as possible into a piece of yourself (art, writing, ect.) only to have it thrown in your face, degraded or even rejected? Then there’s also putting your all and working hard at a relationship to have it crumble.
Can you envision your life’s work being destroyed? Your life’s work coming back around to do the opposite of what you wanted to happen? I’m in one of those phases right now, if I’m honest.
Most of my life I have felt the pull to work with the special needs. Now that I am doing so, I’m not too sure that I am where I’m supposed to be. I’m not sure sure that this is what I am supposed to be doing. I am feeling God saying that it’s supposed to look differently.
Like mankind in Genesis eleven, we are all built with a longing to be the next big name in whatever task we are undertaking. The world then wanted to build the highest tower possible, one all the way to heaven. In today’s world the objective is to become the person with the most toys or the biggest bank account.
This isn’t the way it should be, is it? There shouldn’t be this thirst for the biggest bank account, the most well known name, or even the thirst for more. Our thirst should be for the things that please our heavenly Father.
Is our desire for the American Dream or for our Father’s dream? Is our primary goal to build earthly wealth or heavenly wealth? Are our priorities focused on things we desire? Or are they focused on what He would have for us?
For me, as much as I wish I could honestly answer each of these questions with the latter, I am not able to. Sure, I could convince people that it’s true. Build up a good “godly” name in the eyes of everyone around me, but it would be a false mask.
Living a life for God isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being imperfect, admitting to it and striving to become perfect in Him. After all, His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Honestly answer these to yourself: has my life been about making my name great or about pointing others to the greatness of our God? Is my thirst to become known because of my own works or is my thirst to bring glory to my Creator?
I want to encourage and challenge us to ask each of these questions to challenge our motives often. By doing so, we may find that our priorities change and our focus shifts from our plans to God’s plan. After all, we were initially created to do His will, not our own.
Let us go about our days looking to glorify Him rather then ourselves. Let us examine our hearts and realign our thirsts, longings, and desires with His. I challenge us to see every situation in a new light, as a way to show someone God. Let us not be like the people in this story, if we desire to build something, let it be the kingdom of God rather than our own kingdom.