I am increasingly aware that we, as a nation, have not just put God on a shelf, we have put Him in the attic, where we don’t have to see Him. Out of sight, out of mind? Most definitely! In a culture where self-esteem is the bar to reach, and where right and wrong are determined by you, for you, God is an inconvenient Truth.
Giving of our income, our time, our talents (rather that hording, clutching, buying over and over the next best tech gadget, ignoring the needs of the poor, the homeless, the orphans and widows) is how God expects us to handle the time, finances, and talents in our lives.
Humble servant hearts (not pride and arrogance) are character traits God wants to grow in us.
Selfless service to meet the needs of others before ourselves (rather than climbing a ladder by stepping on anyone who gets in the way) is the way God expects us to live.
Yuk! That does not sit well with the “It’s all about me,” instant gratification population of the United States. The best cure, then, is to get rid of the reminder that giving is better than taking, sharing is better than hording, loving is better than ambivalence, and peace is better than anger. In other words, get rid of God. Therefore, any mention of God in the public sector is being removed at an ever-increasing pace. And the very word of God, the Bible, is ridiculed to make those of us, who believe it, look like ignorant fools.
We have slipped, almost unnoticed, into a people of greed coupled with a need for instant gratification. We always need the next greatest cell phone, tablet, computer, TV, or other gadget, even though the one we currently have is working just fine. We toss away a workable, satisfactory item, for the latest version, despite the fact that we really don’t need it, nor do we really have the money to pay for it.
We are starving for people to like us, totally unaware that we don’t even like ourselves.
We are thirsty for something that will give us joy in a world that is full of hate, anger, distrust, bitterness, and greed. We turn to drugs, to sex, to gods of our own making, but are left still thirsty and don’t know why.
Is it such a good idea to put God on the shelf or in the attic, unseen in the dark? Becoming a Christ following Christian brings light into our lives and into the lives around you. God, Himself, comes out of the attic and into the world through us.
When we begin to walk as a Christian, seriously seeking to serve God in whatever ways we can, our view of life changes. We understand that there will always be the next new great tech toy, but there does not need to be 29,000 children dying each day from hunger related causes. And when we see the need and give, we feel a warmth that can only be experienced, not described.
When we begin to walk as a Christian, we begin to see that we could buy that next great item, or we could support a child through one of the great international service organizations, and pay a nominal monthly fee for their food, education, clothing, and shelter. (www.wvi.org, http://www.compassion.com, http://www.children.org, and others) Or we could do more in our own local communities. Yes, we could make a real difference in the life of another, and find ourselves now filled with joy, and no longer starving for someone to like us; we have found people who love us instead.
We have a choice, you and I. Do we keep God in the attic, and continue our “It’s all about me,” instant gratification life, or do we allow God into our lives, and then take Him out into the lives of others through one good deed, one kind or encouraging word, one prayer at a time?
I share with you a teaching from Jesus, followed by a quote from President Abraham Lincoln.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness! (Matt 6:22-23)
“O God, we have been recipients of the choicest blessings of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power…but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” (Prayers for Today, Kurt Bjorklund, 120)
God reminds us that we are a called people. We have been given a character to grow into and a job to do. We are the hands and feet Christ uses to reach the helpless, homeless, and lost. We are the voices that are to spread the truth of the gospel, the good news for all. And we are the ones who are to be a light to the world.
God may be in the attic now, but if we take the shade off our light and let it shine, people just may be drawn to a better hope. Shine, my friend, shine!