Monday Musings for July 18, 2016
Good morning, Musers,
When do our possessions become teraphim.... idols! That's today's question... and it's a good one. When indeed?
To say the we Americans have no lack of stuff would be the understatement of the year... as would to say that materialism is problematic on multiple levels. Sometimes quanta itself is the idol... if you need to have more or bigger things than your neighbors, then your idol is more an aggregate than a single thing. But sometimes, there's that one thing... that car... that family artifact... that you tenderly love. Is this necessarily an idol? I don't think so. With the standard disclaimers in place (to guard your heart and watch what you love) it is okay to have the occasional "treasure" as long as it's relatively low on your list.
Jesus is Lord (Yeah Jesus!), but if he's your Lord, then he's your top priority and your first love. But if Jesus is not thus positioned — and no matter what you may say about him — he's not your Lord... this by definition. Now, your family and your fellows should be right below him.... but as long as that potential teraphim — that "thing" — is below them, too, this is probably not an idol.
I suspect that this counsel will give today's questioner a little room to live... although I appreciate his push towards purity. You see, idols do no exist on their own. We empower them... or we do not... and without our permission, they languish. But have you ever wondered how those ancients who were walking around with God's manifest presence still looked aside to their idols? That's us! We who have God's word and leisure to read it are looking even more so right into his face. Yet we, too, look aside.
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