Encouragement From The Word

What occupies your mind the most?

I once had a conversation through social media with an acquaintance (whom I have actually met in person) in which, at its pinnacle, she claimed not to be religious.  Based on what she posted online, though, I knew she was searching deep inside, but wasn’t prepared to admit that.  I had offered counsel prior to that time, and she knew the door was open for conversation.

It’s astounding that people claim not to be religious, but it happens all the time.  Many people today are what sociologists of religion call SBNR:  Spiritual But Not Religious.

And yet, they are religious…just not in the traditional way.

People who spend every weekend at the casino?  Religious.

People who keep a Buddha statue in their garden?  Religious.

People who subscribe to porn channels?  Religious.

You get the idea.

When we have any kind of ritual – even a subtle ritual – that surrounds an activity to which we ascribe worth, that makes us religious.  And that activity becomes a form of worship.

What do you worship?  To answer that question, ask yourself:  What occupies my mind the most?

Come, let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God” (Psalm 95.6-7a, NLT).

Encouragement From The Word

Idolatry and the hockey lockout

The current NHL lockout has me fascinated.

I’m as interested in seeing another Habs dynasty rise as the next Canadiens fan, but with each passing day, the likelihood of seeing any hockey this year grows more remote.  In the midst of this, the reaction of fans is really, really interesting.

I don’t know of anyone who is on the side of the owners, who give the impression that they are trying to claw back revenue from the players.  Many are on the side of the players, who display themselves as men wanting to play hockey but being prevented by the greediness of owners.

Most fans feel like they’re the losers in all this.  Some fans protest to the effect that their “right” to watch professional hockey is being impinged upon!  But do you suppose – at least in some cases – that the fans are the ones who have brought this on?

A friend of mine hit the nail on the head yesterday when he posted on Facebook that he believes a big part of the problem is idolatry.  We idolize players, and even the game itself, such that fans are willing to pay exorbitant prices for seats at hockey games, and pay outrageous prices for beverages and food, all so that we can see, live, an event called Canada’s national pastime.  Our idolatry (perhaps you consider that a strong term, but I will use it anyway) contributes toward others’ greed.

I like hockey as much as the next red-blooded Canadian male, but I will not pay for a ticket to enter an NHL arena, on principle.  I don’t believe it’s good stewardship of what God has given me.  Do you suppose that if even the die-hard fans stopped buying tickets, perhaps the players and the owners would get a bit of a reality check?

Whether it’s hockey games or concerts or any number of other pleasures in life, we are willing to pay for that which we treasure.  Do we treasure these things more than we treasure God?  That’s idolatry.  Simply put, “You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20.3, NLT).

Consider who matters most to you in life, and in death.  When I die, what is going to matter to me most?  If I can die without hockey, I can live without it.  How about you?