Five Year Conversation Part 3

August 16th, 2016 § Leave a Comment

So when I set out to observe the Sabbath, I discovered that the hardest thing to do was cease from all work. I thought, “Wait a minute. What’s going on? I’ve always enjoyed an excuse to take the afternoon off. This isn’t like me.” I’ve never been an overachiever, a teacher’s pet. In fact, if there was a shortcut to be found, I was your man. The apparent incongruity had my attention.

One day, someone said these words, “I work to save myself.” Ding. Ding. Ding. Bingo. That’s it. Everything from the feverish work on the basketball court to running myself into the ground during those uncertain years of my fledgling career, I have always worked to save myself. The connection to the next part of our conversation was a good deal more immediate.

If I work to save myself, that for which I work is then my savior. My god. As I looked back to the desperate person that I’ve been throughout most of my life, I saw a path strewn with idols. I have always been an idolator.

Around this time, it struck me that the Ten Commandments does not begin with a command. Exodus 20 begins, “God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery’ …” Then to command one: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Idolatry is so bad not only because I am trusting in a false god, which is itself plenty bad, but because there is a true God — a God who loves me. Lived for me and died to save me. Idolatry is not only the turning to that which is false, but turning away from him who is true. There’s betrayal at the heart of idolatry. It’s not just the sleeping around, it’s the leaving of a faithful, loving wife to go slide into bed with a lover.


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