I have been a member of two churches that have since dissolved. One of those was part of a denomination that no longer exists. The first Christian school I attended in 1962 ceased to exist decades ago as well. Even the Christian college I attended changed its affiliation and name shortly after I graduated. All of these institutions had a positive influence on my faith and life, but are now gone.
Like people, institutions have lifespans. We are doing well as individuals to put in fifty years of productive work, and sixty is exceptional. Because our lifetimes are so short, we have a short window of time in which we can fulfill our callings. It seems as though we hit our stride just about the time we have to admit age is catching up to us. It is humbling but not necessarily a bad thing. It forces us to admit the world does not revolve around us.
I have often reminded myself there are no heroes in the Kingdom of God. In political and military history, we remember individuals who changed history (though their empires are often in history’s dustpan). We even remember the great inventors of the industrial age and scientists who made transformational breakthroughs.
There are no comparable heroes in the Kingdom of God. The individuals of church history that we remember are, for the most part, men who took a stand on a doctrinal issue, or who called men to faithfulness in terms of the Word of God. They ministered God’s Word at a critical time, but they did not themselves advance the Kingdom. That is the work of God in history.
So what is our role in the Kingdom? We are called to personal, familial, and corporate (church, business, economic) faithfulness as the citizens of the Kingdom that God advances. We lead men to greater faithfulness, but only God and His Christ lead the Kingdom. Men, even fine and Godly ones, die and are forgotten. Even institutions that do good work may dissolve. No matter, the Kingdom advances because its Lord will be victorious. The only question in our minds should be, “Am I a faithful, obedient citizen of the Kingdom?”