Build Your Hopes On Things Eternal

Published 11:18 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

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By Michael J. Brooks

The college I worked for asked me to go to Washington, D.C. for a seminar with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. I didn’t have to be asked twice! It was a great several days on the CCCU campus a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. I met with 30 or 40 college students who were interning in government that semester.

We later invited a CCCU rep to our campus in Marion to explain the “Best Semester” program, and as result, had a number of our students attend one of the three or four U.S. hubs.

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One morning I walked from our hotel to Union Station for a breakfast meeting. I fell in step with a lady heading that way. She looked so familiar. I knew I’d seen her somewhere—maybe on television? I racked my brain to think who she was, and then tentatively greeted her, “Mrs. Schroeder?”

“Yes, I am,” she said.

Patsy Schroeder was the first female in Colorado elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where she served 25 years. She was known as an outspoken advocate for a number of women’s causes. Vice President Mondale considered her as his VP pick in 1984, before asking Rep. Geraldine Ferraro to be his running mate. Schroeder chaired the 1988 presidential campaign of Sen. Gary Hart. When Hart dropped out, she faced calls for her to run for president—a task she eventually declined.

Schroeder was very kind, and we had a pleasant two-or-three-minute conversation as we trekked.

If we’d have talked further, I might’ve told her we disagree politically, but I admired her determination to stand on her convictions to influence the nation.

Schroeder died last year in her newly adopted state of Florida.

Wherever she went in 1988 there were crowds, cameras, microphones and reporters.

But the day I met her, some 15 years later, she walked alone, and she took time to talk with a college professor from Alabama.

I’ve always puzzled over the lure of political power. Earning adulation from the crowds and people hanging onto our words must be exhilarating. But political power is fleeting. No one that I’m aware of has earned this kind of power and kept it forever. Politicians contribute to society, to be sure, but power doesn’t last forever.

Our world insists that personal value is primarily measured in power and possessions. But Jesus challenged this concept with a beatitude. “Happy are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” he said.

Jesus urged us to make it our highest goal to pursue, love and serve God.

An old gospel hymn says, “Build your hopes on things eternal; hold to God’s unchanging hand.”

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is