Last night Kobe Bryant ended an outstanding 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Not that there were not any ups and down with his career, but overall any fan of basketball would have to agree that that he shined as bright, or brighter than some of the greatest players to play the game. Not only was his run one of greatness, but his final game was one of triumph as well, scoring 60 points to close his career.
So what now? Most people only dream of that kind of glory and grandeur and spend their entire lives pursuing it. Rarely do any even come close to what Kobe has experienced, though a few will attain it at a lower level. What we were reminded of last night, however, is that earthly glory always comes to an end. No matter how beautiful the bloom, the flower will start to fade. For those who have placed their hope and confidence in the kingdom of this world, this evaporation of earthly splendor is troubling because eternity has been written on their hearts, yet they acknowledge no higher aim.
It has been said, the greatest tragedies are not those who pursued greatness and failed to reach it. The biggest tragedies are those who achieved it and realized that it could not give them the fulfillment for which they longed. We were made to pursue glory by a glorious God. The problem is we have a natural propensity to exchange the glory of the everlasting God for created things, but the things of earth can never give us what we are seeking. No matter how fast we run, how high we climb, or how many accolades the world gives us, it is ultimately not enough. Even then we will continue the pursuit to see if we can find something else in this world that can lift our heads, and we always seem to find something: temporarily.
There is only One who can give us what we are seeking, and that is the Lord of Glory Himself. Our glory is found in Him, and until our pursuit turns from the things of the world to the eternal God, we have nothing to expect in the end except disillusionment. In Christ, though, it all comes together. Our sins have been forgiven, which causes even death to lose its sting, and no matter how insignificant the world thinks we are, when Christ, who is our life, appears, then we also will appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4). He is our honor and triumph.
Influence, affluence, legacy; none of these things are wrong in themselves. They can even be used to bring God glory, but when we put them in the place of God, they will all fail to deliver. We must not seek from the world what only God can give. There may be times when the things of this world will cause you to hold your head up high, but only briefly for it is all passing away. Your glory is not found in your attractiveness, your talents, your bank book, your health, or even your legacy. Your glory is found in Christ, and so is your rest.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8