Imagine you heard your children talking about wanting the latest gaming console. You see it in a store and decide to buy it as a present. The gift is a little pricey, but you want to do it for your children. You give it to them and hear, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Then they’re off to play the game. They get so into the game that they don’t have time to talk or eat. They just want to play the game. The next thing you know they’re asking for the newest game because all their friends have it. How could such a nice gift go wrong?
It happened because the gift became more important than the giver. The gift was not wrong or evil, but when the gift becomes more important than the giver, it can become an idol.
As I read 1 Kings 18, we find the story of Elijah. Jezebel has set up idols to Baal, and Elijah tells Ahab there will be a drought. We can learn several things from this Bible truth.
Don’t expect God to bless His completion. Baal was a god of weather, so God sent a drought. If we put anything in our life that will compete against God, He will not bless it. God must be the ONLY God on the throne of our hearts. Anything else, I call a “love seat” religion. Instead of a throne, we replace it with a love seat. God is there, but we tend to put someone or something else on the seat with Him. We do that because we want both. God and (fill in the blank). God wants to be the One and Only.
How does that apply to those of us in ministry? We must never allow the gift to become more important than the Giver. What kind of things could occupy the love seat? Time, schedules, meetings, rehearsals, music, success, programs, etc. These are all gifts, but we must not allow them to occupy the space in our heart on the same level as the Giver. We must not settle for “imitation gods” on the throne, but we must allow God to be on the throne alone.
Every day we must get up and choose whom we will serve that day. The choices are A: God or B: Something else. There is no option C: All of the above. God tells us we cannot serve two masters. We must choose. As Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I hope every day we make the right choice.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
Devotion by Reed Benson who served faithfully served FBC Stockbridge for more than two decades. Reed is now a pastor in Sylva, North Carolina.