The Humbling of Kingdom Builders

And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)

On March 30th, the devotional was about the arrogant king of Assyria and how God dealt with his prideful ways. If you recall, the king used the terms “I” and “me” 8 times in just two verses. Today we find such arrogance and pride, not just in one person, but in many. They are full of “us”, “ourselves”, and “we”.

This is in the story of the Tower of Babel. The people wanted to build their own kingdom; making their own “name” for themselves. Rather than looking to the Lord, they would look to themselves.

Is it possible that a group of Christian people could fall into a similar type of arrogance or pride? Could “we” build something that is all about us?

Several years ago, in my duties with Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, I was speaking with a precious person who was very supportive of this work. When I mentioned that I would be most willing to speak at his church, his response shocked me: “I am sorry father, but you would not be welcomed at my church. You are not of my ethnicity and the people would not welcome you. The service is all done in our language without a word of English.”

Another time, I was asked to speak at a church and noticed all of the people were of one ethnicity. I asked some of the folks if they were reaching out to the local community. Again, the answer shocked me: “Outsiders are not welcome here because we want our sons and daughters to only marry within our own ethnicity.”

When we build our own “kingdom”, we forget that “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son” (John 3:16). The Lord’s final words to His followers before He ascended was to take His message to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Oh, my dear brothers and sister, let us have churches that open up their hearts to love all who come through our doors and welcome them. The story of the Tower of Babel ends with God putting an end to the “kingdom” the people were building for themselves. It is a truth well worth remembering. If we try to build a “kingdom” that is only for “us”, it will ultimately fail. The true Kingdom of God is for everyone, not just “us”.

By your prayers…as we continue our Journey,

Fr. Stephen