According to the historian Flavius Josephus, when Herod the Great defeated the Parthians in 40 BCE, he decided to build a great citadel to memorialize his victory. He quite literally removed the top portion of one mountain and used it to construct an artificial cone on another. Inside the cone, he built a massive palace complex. Protected by four defensive towers and a number of epic perimeter defenses, the palace itself was seven stories tall with a theater that seated over 600 and a bathhouse that could accommodate many guests. The palace rose in the middle of the cone, above the defensive structures and could be seen from miles away. The entire complex is known as the Herodyon.
What is man’s greatness compared with that of the ebb and flow of history? As soon as Herod died, the Herodyon was abandoned. Its frescoes and mosaics have crumbled and faded. No one could maintain the massive site for any period of time, and when rebels occupied it in 130 CE, it was easily taken by the Romans.
What we seek to build will soon crumble. Brand-building and marketing campaigns, Wall Street investments and corporate dominance – these are wisps of dream soon abandoned and forgotten.
If you would build something of worth, then become a slave of Christ. If you would have your efforts count, then put your shoulder to the yolk of the Savior. I would rather be a little known servant of the Lord than a builder of crumbling palaces of my own desires.