All organizations must at some point die. Its what all the economy charts show … the bell-curve of the life and death of an organization. The only constant in this world is change. There is a time to live and a time to die… a time to thrive and a time to whither.
This morning is the last Sunday at the religious organization I’ve worked for for the last three years. We have made a difference in people’s lives. We’ve built a great community. We’ve established lasting relationships and friendships. We’ve served the city of Scottsdale. We’ve had some great weekend services. We’ve done a lot of cool events.
But the time has come for our organization to die.
Its a basic truth in most areas of life that death often gives way to more life. In biology we know that when organic materials die and decompose they produce valuable natural resources. Some times things have to die in order that others might live.
One time in John 12, Jesus predicted his own death (he called it his “glorification”) using the analogy of a seed of wheat. Unless that seed goes into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed, but if it dies it produces many seeds. Then he goes on to say “anyone who loves their life will lose it, and anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
I think he was saying two things: one, that death often produces life, and two, that we ought not devote ourselves to things that don’t last…things that we cannot control or keep…
Organizations don’t last. Businesses don’t last. Methods often require alteration. Buildings don’t last. But what does last is the relationships and the community that we create, the stories of lives that were healed, the accounts of broken hearts being lifted. Maybe its important that things die so that we are reminded of what its all really about… maybe the death of our little organization will produce ‘many seeds.’
This morning I’m thanking my God for Praxis, and for the people that meet within its walls every week. I’m thinking of faces of people that have sacrificed, not for Praxis, but for something larger for which Praxis stood. I’m thinking of names … like Paul wrote in Romans 16 … of all the people who have participated and contributed and committed. I’m thinking of the leaders who took pay cuts, moved families, and prayed relentlessly. I’m thinking of the volunteers that kept this place running. I’m thinking of all the students and their families.
It has come time for our organization to die, but it will die in order that other things might live. The closure of one ‘ministry’ will be the opening of another. The twilight of one, the dawn of another, and what is sown perishable will be reaped imperishable.