Why is it that we as human beings are so determined to have idols?
It surprised me what an active interest I took in the recent royal wedding. I think our trip to the U.K. last year helped make it all seem more familiar and endearing. Even a couple of years ago, I would have been quick to disparage people’s obsession with the recent event as participation in one big game of “make-believe.” What is royalty, anyway? Is not every king, queen, prince, or princess a human being just like the rest of us? What makes their life event more important than anyone else’s? In the United States, of course, there is the added historical dimension of resistance to royalty from the U.K. that runs deep.
As my wife and I watched the wedding (a bit later on DVR), we began to feel surprisingly refreshed. “Isn’t it nice to watch a high profile event where the guests’ main wardrobe goal isn’t to reveal as many body parts as possible?” “Isn’t it nice to hear people speaking openly about Scripture and God’s love?” “Isn’t it nice to see the world come together to be happy about something wholesome?”
What makes this event such a striking contrast to the norm?
Surely it’s the shallow circus that normally floods our news sources. Reflecting on the neverending updates on the Kardashians and the Real Housewives (none of which I watch or follow), I wondered to myself, “Have we in the U.S. really made such a good trade? If we are bound to celebrate any particular family, have we really made a better choice in ignoring the British Royal Family to obsess instead over the Kings and Queens of Reality TV?”
Humanity has plenty of experience in making bad trades. Esau traded a significant portion of his inheritance for a bowl of soup. Samson ended up getting his eyes gouged out and eventually died because he felt he couldn’t be without his attractive pagan gal pal. Judas traded Jesus over to the authorities for a few dollars’ worth of silver. There is no shortage of examples either then or now.
Paul expresses one of the great tragedies of humanity is our tendency to exchange something priceless for something worthless. Why would anyone exchange the glory of the immortal God for cheap knock-offs imitations? Why would anyone give up the truth in order to embrace a lie?
Ask yourself. We’ve all done it. None of us can have the presence of mind to always choose the greater thing in life, but surely there are some choices we can know we won’t regret.
- Will you ever regret creating intentional time in your schedule to reflect on your life and evaluate your path?
- Will you ever wish you had spent fewer hours engaged with your family so that you could put in a few more hours on a project you won’t even remember next year?
- Will you feel it was worth using your talents entirely for yourself when you know the church could have been strengthened significantly had you shared them?
If you’re going to exchange one thing for something else, be sure it’s something for which your future self will thank you.