Tool or Idol?
“You will have no other gods before me. ” Exodus 20: 3
I wouldn’t think of it. I mean, how crazy were those Israelites to continue to disobey and construct idols to worship when the One and only Living God was leading them, listening to their cry, giving them instruction and provision and constantly demonstrating His love for them?
…and yet they did.
No, I wouldn’t think of putting another god before my One and Only God. The God who leads me, listens to me, gives me instruction and provision, and constantly demonstrates His love for me.
…and yet I do.
“Everything we have can be either a tool or an idol.”
I heard this several years ago, it struck me then and continues to prick my heart when I read it.
God is the ultimate Giver and has lavished us with gifts of all kinds. Our response to those gifts is what determines the role – tool or idol — it will have in our lives.
My house. A wonderful gift from the Lord. A place of rest. A place to sleep, eat, and to gather with my family.
This gift can also be a wonderful tool in reaching out to others – a place that people feel welcome, comfortable, and special.
It can also be an idol. I can be so consumed with cleaning my house, decorating my house, and maintaining my house, that it becomes something that controls me. Rather than being the tool that God intended for it to be, my house becomes a master of my time, energy, and money.
My gifts and skill set. God created me for a particular purpose with certain gifts and skills. God has called me to use these for His glory and the benefit of others. These are wonderful tools to use to speak, teach, write, and counsel.
I turn these same wonderful tools into idols when I begin to love my calling over the God who called me. How do I do that? By focusing on developing my gifts and skills instead of focusing on developing my relationship with the God who gave me those gifts and skills.
Social media. What a wonderful tool to share the love of God with a dying world! We now have the tools at our fingertips to spread the message of God to nations who would not hear it otherwise. In addition, social media provides the opportunity to network and develop relationships with people everywhere.
And yet, this has the potential to be my biggest, most daunting idol. I confess to you that this “tool” has consumed me the last four months. Though I began blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking to connect and minister to others, I have chosen to allow social media to have power over me. I have taken the tool that God has given me and allowed it to become an idol. My intended few minutes at the computer turn into hours. And I have sacrificed the real relationships around me, the ones that call me mom and wife, to this idol of virtual friendships and faux intimacy.
“You will have no other gods before me.”
So, what is your response to the gifts that the One and Only God has graciously given you? Do you have a set of tools to use for His glory and the benefit of others or do you have a collection of idols?
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”