“They just don’t make ‘em like they used to!”
Have you ever heard that phrase before? It’s usually said by a weary homeowner who has just gone through the process of replacing something expensive. Recently, I was having this exact conversation with someone who was frustratedly telling me about how companies used to guarantee their products, sometimes even for life. Refrigerators, dishwashers, heaters, and so on, all of these at one point would last for double-digit years at the minimum. Now, expect to replace those items in half that time or less. Our conversation left me pondering why. Why aren’t things built to last anymore?
A few months ago, when I was on the Greek Island of Lesvos (read why here) I saw one of the most magnificent sights I’ve seen. I have been blessed to travel to many places. I have seen incredible natural wonders and impressive manmade structures. But this. This took my breath away.
There, seemingly untouched by tourists, in the middle of an olive grove, accessible only by a footpath or a half-a-car sized dirt road was the sign the simply read, Roman Aqueduct.
I quickly snapped the picture shown above and then just as quickly put my phone away to just simply soak it all in.
The structure stands an impressive 600 meters tall (1969 feet) and was built in the late 2nd century. In its day it would carry 127,000 cubic meters of water a distance of 22 kilometers each day. While it certainly isn’t functioning today and is only a remnant of what it once was I couldn’t help but think, “now that was built to last.”
If that was built to last, then why isn’t my refrigerator?! The answer is sadly simple. That’s not a good business model. Many companies have gone under with the business model of “built to last.”
In our consumeristic culture where newer is always better and materials and production are dirt cheap, it makes no sense to build something that will last a long time. A disgruntled and yet repeat customer is preferred over a happy but one-time customer.
That’s a problem, but here is the greater problem…we have come to accept it. We have come to realize that doing repairs just isn’t worth the work when it is easier, and often cheaper, to go get a replacement.
And I’m not only talking about refrigerators anymore.
This thinking has crept into our mindsets concerning our relationships, faith in God, and how we view the churches we attend.
“Why fix it? Just walk away. Go find someone new. Go worship somewhere else. Go follow a God that doesn’t require quite as much from you.” These are the things that we are up against.
Nothing seems built to last anymore.
Please understand, I am not advocating against change. Change is a good and necessary part of all life. But I am advocating for a renewed commitment to the people in our lives, the churches we go to, and the God we follow.
Let’s build our relationships to last. When times get hard don’t run away. Don’t cash in for a new model. Fix what is broken. Work together to find reconciliation and honor God together.
Let’s build our churches to last. When times get hard don’t run away. Don’t cash in for a church that will meet your consumer needs better. Ask God to use you to fix what is broken. Work together to share Jesus’ love and to make His name great.
Let’s build our faith to last. When times get hard don’t run away. Don’t settle for a cheaper version of grace. Ask God to fix what is broken in you. Trust in Him and do not lean on your own understanding.
There is only one cornerstone, only one solid rock. The only things that we can build to last are the things built upon Jesus.