In 9,500 years, will anyone remember the United States? Will the name “Texas” mean anything? As I stood on the upper layer of ruins at Tel Megiddo in northern Israel, I thought a lot about seizing – and squandering – opportunities.
Even today, it is easy to understand why Megiddo was so economically and militarily important for seven millennia. Anyone traveling north and south through this region of the Mediterranean would pass through this valley. It sat at the natural crossroads of the ancient world.
Never heard of Megiddo? Yes, you have. We know of Megiddo by its Greek name, through the writings of John in the New Testament Book of Revelation. We know it as Armageddon.
No matter what one thinks of eschatology and biblical prophecy, Megiddo tells us a lot about the opportunities we have if we seize them.
The city was occupied for some 7,000 years. Let that sink in. From the archeological record, we know Megiddo was a thriving hub of commerce and a military outpost before written history.
As an archeological site, it is without equal – layer upon layer testifies to people taking advantage of their geography to influence the world.
Megiddo was in a valley that made for easy travel. One could literally touch the corners of the ancient world merely by living in Megiddo. All of the important roads came through Meggido, and those who lived there drew immense power from controlling the junction.
As individuals, we each have such opportunities. Each of us is placed somewhere in which we interact, directly or indirectly, with thousands of people. Where are you? Are we using our position to its fullest potential? Maybe it’s an actual geographic position, or maybe it’s a profession, certain skills, accumulated wealth, or even simply a series of relationships. How are we influencing the world around us from our respective positions?
For a variety of reasons, Texas sits at a critical cultural and political junction for conservatives in America. And yet, Texans have grown frustrated with a series of “do-the-bare-minimum” legislative sessions in a GOP-dominated state. All roads to a better, brighter future for our republic could run through the Lone Star State, yet lawmakers squander this opportunity time and again.
Megiddo’s influence and importance eventually waned. The geopolitical reality of the Iron Age, the rise of the Roman Empire, all marched by and Megiddo fell away – it was uninhabited by around 500 B.C. But thanks to 7,000 years of preeminence, its name and legacy have lived on as a literary tool and a rhetorical device. (Meggido’s place in future history, of course, is a different discussion.)
I choose not to believe Texas is entering a period of decline. I believe rejuvenation is possible. I know it is needed. You and I must decide what we will do to make Texas count, and ensure the Lone Star State continues as a force for good influencing the world.
Should the Lord tarry another 7,000 years, will we be remembered for squandering our place, or seizing opportunities? What we do every day, and what we do next, will be the answer to that question.