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Posts Tagged ‘idols’

The game MONOPOLY was invented in 1934 at the height of the Great Depression by an unemployed man from Pennsylvania.  Parker Brothers rejected the game, citing “52 design errors.”  Undaunted, the man sold 5,000 handmade copies, approached Parker Brothers again, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, over 250 million games have been sold in 103 countries in 37 languages.  5,120,000,000 little green houses have been constructed for the game.  Estimates are that nearly 500 million people have played the game of MONOPOLY.*

Holy cow.  We do have a taste for the green stuff, don’t we?

Why do we chase after money, pine for it, mourn the lack of it, or flaunt the wealth of it?  People who have lots of it are considered “successful”, while those who lack it (supposedly) deserve our sympathy.

Growing up in Montana, I saw people who couldn’t afford three squares a day or a Christmas present for their children.  Then during my career as an opera singer, I interacted with patrons of the arts who could buy a car with the change in their Gucci wallets. 

I’ve known some godly poor people, some messed up poor people, some messed up rich people and some godly rich people.  Apparently, a person’s bank account balance does not rise or fall in proportion to their character.

I have wondered over the disparity, though.  Why are there “haves” and “have nots”?  Has God “blessed” some people with money and forgotten others?

And what about tithing?  Why would the God of abundance require us to give ten per cent of everything we make?  Couldn’t He just provide for us all?

Here’s my take, for whatever it’s worth:

Money is only a tool in God’s hand to grow us as human beings.

Perhaps the lacking of money is meant to teach dependence upon Him, the benefits of simplicity, or humility.  Perhaps the having of money is meant to teach generosity, that material possessions don’t bring lasting joy, or that wealth is not a barometer of the heart.  Perhaps tithing is for our benefit – to teach us to give what we have so freely taken.

Perhaps it is all meant to draw us to Him.

This is God’s modus operandi.  Whatever He chooses to give or withhold is meant to teach us and draw us into deeper relationship with Him.

Let us regard money as the tool that it is.

And let us pursue the Carpenter, not the chisel in His hand.

 

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:23-25, NIV)

*Source: Hasbro web site

 

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Sometimes, I wish God would just pick up the phone and call me.  I wish He would program clear directions into my GPS.  I wish He would speak audibly with instructions for my life.  But it’s never that way with God.

When we put our house on the market (after a wrestling match with God), I thought surely our house would sell immediately.  After all, we were doing what He “told” us to do.  But God, ever mysterious and unpredictable, had a surprise for us.

First, our house wouldn’t sell, despite our great effort.  Second, the house that we wanted sold before we could get to it.  Third, God provided a new job for my husband.

Then what was this whole thing about, God?, I asked.  Why did you tell us to sell our house, then switch gears like that?

It turns out that God does speak, just not in audible tones.  If I could put into words what He said, it might have gone like this:

It was never about a house, Child.  It was about your heart.  I want all of it – not the part that’s left over after you’ve worshiped a house, or a career, or anything else.  And not because I need you, but because you need Me.

Oh.

The FOR SALE sign is gone from our front yard, but it is still our desire to sell our “too much house” at a better time.  Why?  Because when God has your whole heart, you want to do things to please Him, to be safely and squarely in the center of His will.  I never want to be so attached to anything in this life again that I would put my desire for whatever-it-is ahead of my desire for Him.

Upon reflection, I realize that during the time our house was up for grabs, God kept bringing a certain scripture to my mind (see below), but I wasn’t listening.   The signs were around me, but I wasn’t watching.  He was leading, but I forgot to check back for current instructions.

The next time I’m confused about what He wants me to do about something, I will remember this:

All He’s ever wanted from us is all He’s ever given.

Everything.

(But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you… Matt. 6:33 NIV)

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I never imagined that goody-two-shoes me would be an idol worshiper.  But I am.  This came as something of a surprise to me.  I mean, me?  Worship something other than God?  Never!  Except for that one thing God asked me to give up for His sake… and I said no.

I have placed this one particular thing on the throne of my heart.  I have worshiped it.  And I have justified myself all over the place for making it an idol.  I have given God all the many reasons why I should have it, and told Him how pure my motivations were for protecting it.  God wasn’t buying it.

Before I tell you what it is, I must tell you that this is embarrassing for me…

OK.  Here goes.  The thing I have worshiped, the thing I would not lay down when God asked me to, the thing I have wrestled with God over was… a house.  Our house.  Our home.

Some months ago, my husband gently expressed some concern over the “too-much-ness” of our house – too much space, too much mortgage, too much pretense.   It was time for us to be honest with ourselves.   Our priorities were out of whack, and our lives were not reflecting what we believe to be good and right. 

These were words I did not want to hear.  I was quite happy in our big house, thank you very much.  I have painted, decorated, scrubbed and made beautiful almost all of its too many square feet.  I have made it my business to make this house a sanctuary from the world.  And I certainly didn’t want to know that maybe, possibly, probably, the promptings he was getting were from God.

I argued, whined, wrestled, bribed and even fought with God.  (See Hissy Fit, Hissy Fit Part Deux, and To Kill A Mockingbird) But it’s over now.  As I write this, there is a FOR SALE sign in our front yard.  I laid my false idol at His feet. 

Far from punishing me for my insolence, God has been faithful!  I feel His pleasure with me.  We are buddies again, because I came back.  He never left.

This is a God worthy of my trust,

my worship,

my faith,

my life.

a false idol

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