“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
God is powerful and sovereign; He demands absolute devotion. We can’t worship one thing and remain devoted to Him. That doesn’t work. To love God, you must do so with “all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Nothing less is required. But isn’t that hard, or, even impossible? Well, if God is asking something difficult and knows we can’t do it on our own, then He will certainly provide us much more so we could be able to do what He Himself requires. In case we fail, He will surely make a way and lead the way so we can be worthy of Him.
There so many called “gods” in this age. Let’s try to look at three of them:
The god of fame
“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift–articles of silver and gold, and robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules”.
King Solomon is greater than all the kings of the earth combined! He is more famous than all of the kings together. But he has a weakness. He loved many foreign women. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1Kings 11:1-3). The Scriptures says that king Solomon “held fast to them in love”. He even worshipped their detestable gods and built high places for them (1Kings 11:4-11). And this angered the LORD.
King Solomon was very famous but his heart is not wholly devoted to God. He lived a worldly lifestyle [carnal]. And God become angry with him. After Solomon’s death, the united kingdom of Israel was split into two: the Northern kingdom of 10 tribes followed Jeroboam; while the tribe of Judah & Benjamin [Southern kingdom] followed Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.
LESSON: we need to reflect and examine our own way of life: are we living a godly life or a worldly life? Conclusion: Fame in itself is amoral; it is neither right nor wrong. Fame only becomes immoral when it exalts itself above God!
The god of money
In Luke 18:18-22, we find the story of a wealthy young man who became very sad when Jesus told him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. Clearly, money can do a lot of things to man. Depending on his perspective and attitude, it can make his life better, or, it can turn his world into a gloomy dungeon. It could lead to disobedience in the sense that money has the power to dictate man to do things which are contrary to God’s will.
Secondly, it could lead to sadness as in the case of the wealthy young man in the parable. The life of Alexander the Great is also a good example. Pastor Butch Conde (Bread of Life Ministries) has described it impeccably in his book, “Principles for Kingdom Living”. According to Pastor Butch Conde, when Alexander the Great was in his early thirties (30’s) he conquered the then known world; he held absolute sway over the treasures of the east and the west. But toward the end of his life he requested that his hands be left out of the funeral bier so that everybody could see that they were empty.
Thirdly, money on earth is not auto-convertible or transferable as treasures in heaven. In fact, St. Augustine once said that “the homes of the widows, the hungry mouths of the orphans, these are the true storehouses of surplus wealth.”
LESSON: If a man sells his principles for gain, or, if he trusts his money more than he trusts God’s provision, then he is making money his god. Conclusion: Money is amoral; it becomes immoral when it displaces God as the focus of our love.
The god of achievement
According to Talcott Parsons, “Society is Meritocratic” – meaning, the status or worth of an individual is based on what he or she has achieved. (Talcott Parsons [1902-1979] – was an American sociologist famous for his theory of social actions which highly influenced the intellectual bases of several disciplines in modern sociology).
In Luke 16:12-21 we find a story of a rich man who is blessed with an abundant crop and his decision about what to do. Instead of sharing that abundance to the less fortunate people, this greedy individual builds bigger barns in which to store the surplus.
In hoarding his wealth, this man experiences no joy. He died an untimely death with his barns full of crops. He did not enjoy his wealth, and he doesn’t get the delight of seeing others benefit from his abundance. So what does this mean for us?
In the eyes of the world, the rich man is considered successful. He is famous, he is wealthy, he is well-respected, he achieve something only a few could attain. But noticed how God addressed him: God called him “fool”. This is proof that what is successful in the eyes of man is foolishness in the eyes of God. If we should plan ahead, then we plan based on God’s will, with the understanding that our life is short and that we cannot control what will come tomorrow. (James 4:13-16) The thing is, our life does not belong to us. It is also a gift from God.
Two (2) different perspective on achievement:
A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possession, nor on his wealth, his achievement, nor his fame. (paraphrase, Luke 12:15) Clearly, fame, money, & achievement are no match for the grace, love, and mercy that God has bestowed upon us.
Heavenly Father I thank you for your amazing grace. Time and again, you have reminded us that money, fame, and success are false gods. They cannot redeem us from the power of sin and death. Forgive us if we sometimes disobey You in our efforts to earn more money, or, become famous, or, even become successful. Forgive us if we forget you when we become intoxicated with our personal achievements, our personal wealth, our personal fame. We lift our hearts and our minds and our thoughts to you. Take control and lead me according to your plan. I pray all these things in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.