Friday, February 16, 2007

What A Modern Idol

A local church was going through a major crisis. The church was divided about different issues. Among the issues was a strong discontent with the Pastor. They did not think he had enough leadership skill to run the congregation. Another issue was that of discontent with three members and their preaching. Many thought that it was offensive, others thought it was heresy. Not too much time passed by before these three brethren were feeling persecuted and chastised by the others in the congregation. The Church board met to discuss the situation. After a few minutes of discussion it was obvious that most of them did not agree with the beliefs of these three members. The Board decided that the Pastor should talk with them. The three members were impressed that this would happen, so they were not surprised when the Pastor called on them for a private meeting. In fact, one of them was strongly impressed that the Pastor would probably also suffer from persecution, just as they were; since the sentiments against the Pastor by the others members was well known.

The conversation was serene and friendly. Although the Pastor and the three brothers disagreed in their beliefs they were very cordial and respectful toward each other; even when the one who was impressed that the Pastor would suffer persecution told the Pastor, so. The Pastor kept his posture. Reflected for a few seconds and replied to the three. “Well, I can see how that can happen. I am however not concerned. The denominational conference office will protect me. They always look after the Pastors. They will not let me down, even if this congregation turns against me.” The three looked at each other with sadness. They looked at the Pastor and one of them said to him, “I hope you are right, Pastor.”

Time passed by. The three chastised brethren were forced out of the local church. The Pastor remained with that congregation until he received notice from the conference office that the conference was going through financial hardship. Because of this they would have to let some Pastor’s go. Unfortunately he was one of them. The Pastor put his trust on the organization, which eventually let him down. Could it be that he made the organization to be his idol?

The passage in Isaiah 44: 9 – 17 makes a vivid description of how a man transforms half of a piece of wood into heat to cook his meal and warm himself up. The other half he builds into a statue. We read this in Isaiah 44:17,

Isaiah 44:17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

The pastor of the congregation may have not manufactured the conference he worked for, as the man in Isaiah did, but he trusted the conference to deliver him as if the conference was his god. Like the Pastor, many choose gods of their own making and expect these gods to save them and deliver them. The examples can be many and diverse. It is normally the thing or things that you believe will pull you through and make you succeed, as long as you can acquire them, have them or keep them. For example: the job, the degree, the connections, the law, the system, the looks, etc. Many of these things are not bad in and of themselves. However, when you put a greater amount of trust in them than you should, you make them into idols.

Another point needs to be made, not one of us is exempt of this danger. Every single one of us will make an idol out of anything; sometimes imperceptibly. Unless we follow God’s advice in Isaiah 45:22,

Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

It is only in Jesus that we find salvation, deliverance, and success. A continual looking at Him will save us not only from idolatry, but from any other Sin. But, you do not have to force yourself into looking unto Him. If you allow yourself to experience His unconditional love, you will be so grateful to Him and will in return love Him so much (1 John 4:19), you will not be able to take your eyes off Him. All the things of this world will never save you, and many will forsake you. However, Christ promises to save you and that he will be “with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).

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