September 14, 2010

God vs. Doorknobs

On Sunday, my wise husband preached about worship. He said something that challenged me:

When we worship (and we all do), we ascribe value to something and are willing to 
sacrifice all other things for it. Idolatry is when we give our worship to something other than God, whether it's a person or a thing or a dream.

My heart cringed when he told us how we could know what we worship other than God.

Who/What could happen that would make you leave your faith?
What would you get mad with God about if it did/didn't happen?
Can what you love break, melt down, for fall apart?

A list instantly developed in my mind and it included this:
Isn't it beautiful?

It's my front porch, recently washed and stained, and one more checked-off task from my list of things I'd like to eventually change about my house. I started the list two years ago when we moved in, when the house needed some major work. It started out innocent enough, but over time I started noticing that as soon as I finished a room, my mind would immediately move on to the "next thing".

Recently, my husband and I have had several discussions (always initiated by me) about using credit card rebate money to purchase new appliances for the kitchen. He says, "Are they broken?" and I always try to come up with a reason why I need them when really I just want them because they would make my kitchen look so shiny and magazine-y.

I love decorating and I love beautiful surroundings. And, really, there isn't anything at all wrong with having a beautiful home. But if I am not content with what I have, when will it ever be enough?

On Sunday, after hearing those questions, the Lord brought something to mind that showed my idolatry. When we go through seasons of difficulty in ministry and/or church planting and I'm having a pity party, I think about houses. I imagine that one day we will get to retire from ministry in a house that we built in the Hill Country of Texas. It has a large porch, rocking chairs, an open floor plan, and is surrounded by land and trees...and is far from the demands of life. I have thought about this scenario multiple times and it gives me some level of comfort in having that to hope for.

When it comes to God and other gods, it's apples and oranges. I'm comparing a house, however beautiful, with a God of infinite value and worth, Someone truly worth sacrificing everything for. And here I'm longing for doorknobs.

"You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is on earth beneath or that is in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the Lord God, am a jealous God." Exodus 20:4-5