Receiving, Not Seizing
Alexander the Great conquered vast territories and vanquished all foes, even reaching into India before turning back toward home. But he died from a fever—possibly from nothing more than a mosquito bite.
Attila the Hun conquered vast territories too, petrifying all who stood in his way. Yet he apparently died from a nosebleed—the sign of an internal illness, but still not at the hand of an enemy. He is said to have simply choked on his own blood.
Alexander and Attila are not the only powerful people to have been rendered powerless by something seemingly insignificant. Many have had their quest for greatness undone by something thoroughly unimpressive. Whatever lessons we can learn from that, we at least know this: we are all frail human beings limited by our own condition. And all are made equal at the grave.
Any person of faith who accepts God’s means to eternal life, no matter how frail that person is, can pass beyond the boundaries that limited Alexander, Attila, and every other power-hungry human. So it makes much more sense to spend our lives not building our own kingdoms—literally or figuratively—but receiving gifts God has already given. Doing so will not stroke your ego, but it will fill you with life. And that’s a far greater treasure than anything earthly conquerors have found.
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