What do I need to hear again today? My guess is that it’s something like–
Get knowledge–but don’t depend on your knowledge. Seek to be wise-But don’t depend on wisdom.
Work hard–but don’t depend on hard work. Work smart-But don’t ever depend on your own cleverness and efficiency.
Make plans. But don’t depend on plans. Budget resources. But don’t depend on your own budgets or resources. Save money-But don’t depend on savings. Count numbers–but don’t depend on numbers.
Value people–but don’t depend on people. Make friendships-But don’t even depend on your friends.
Use your political rights and responsibilities– but don’t depend on political solutions for problems that can only be changed from the inside out, and by the grace of God.
There is a phrase in the Psalms that intrigues me. It says that those who make idols become like their idols.
Verses 4-8 of the 115th Psalm say, “Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They cannot talk, though they have mouths, or see, though they have eyes! They cannot hear with their ears, or smell with their noses, or feel with their hands, or walk with their feet, or utter sounds with their throats! And those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”
This Psalm reminds me of a quote I’ve heard:
“What we have at the center of our attention– has us.”
Idols aren’t limited to what ancient people made out of molded clay, wood, gold, or silver. When Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that our tendency is to worship the creation rather than the creator, the implications go far beyond a warning about strange little statues.
What happens if we make a cult of family, friends, work, church, denomination, or political party?
If we are beginning to sound more like our favorite conservative or liberal radio or television talk show host than like a people who are filled with the truth, grace and presence of Christ, maybe we need to think again about that curious statement the Apostle John adds at the end of his first New Testament letter– “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” (1John 5:21). The King James Version says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
Can you see why I feel like saying, “Hi, my name is Mart. I’m a recovering “idol maker”. I’ve slipped again since our last group meeting…