A Reflection of What Matters
August 2, 2021
The law of the world, the law of fallen nature, is the law of the jungle. What matters is power, prestige, and prowess. Only the strong survive.
There are countless personal development gurus only too happy to tell you how to explode your stock portfolio, shred your physique, double your productivity, or attract more women—for a small fee, of course.
In such a paradigm, what matters is results. If you can produce, if you can make things happen, you are a success. The easiest way to measure these results is usually by obvious externals: the car in your driveway, the titles after your name, the size of your bank account, or your number of sexual conquests.
Stated so plainly, desiring such externals may sound crude or shallow. And yet the desire for these very things is what drives much of the world’s population in their day-to-day existence.
My Kingdom is Not of This World
In direct contrast to this paradigm of power is the kingdom of heaven. Standing before Pilate, the representative of the mightiest man on earth, Jesus Christ boldly declared that he was indeed a king, but further declared that “my kingdom is not of this world.”
In so saying, he in essence proclaimed that all of Caesar’s vast empire was so much dust. It was worth nothing.
What, then, is the kingdom which Christ rules? Of what is he Master? “The kingdom of heaven is within you,” answers the Lord.
In other words, Christ is Lord of the invisible domain of the heart, the dwelling place of all that which is of moral worth. He is Master of goodness, of truth, of grace, of beauty—ultimately, of Love. He reigns over a paradigm entirely above and outside the vicious, dog-eat-dog struggle for the existence that is “this world.”
Love Endures for Ever
St. Paul, in the famous thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, writes a beautiful soliloquy to the kingdom of love, the kingdom of the heart over which Christ rules. In some of the most poetic words in all scripture, he extols the shimmering countenance, the many-faceted manifestations of love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
As he continues his rich description of love, St. Paul utters a phrase that is simple but profound in its depth of meaning: “Love endures forever.” We would do well to meditate on these words.
All of the empires of the world will someday crumble into dust. All the treasures we can amass in this world will blow away like so much smoke. All acts of selfishness or hate will vanish as ultimately unreal. The only thing that will endure for all of eternity is love and love alone.
Each act of love is of eternal value. Each act of love will echo in eternity. Each act of love is an indestructible monument of infinite worth.
“A cup of cold water given in my name will not be without its reward,” says the Master.
Acts of love are at best unnoticed and at worst despised by the world. They are often quiet, subtle, hidden.
But in the kingdom of Christ, the smallest unseen act of love done from the heart is worth more than all the wealth, notoriety, or power in the world.
Do we pursue what is of infinite worth? Or only that which is of passing value?
It is a question we all must ask, tempted as we are by the hollow paradigm of this world. Let us examine our hearts, our consciences, and pursue that which is of eternal worth.
For all the treasures of this world will pass away. Love alone endures forever.