Someone I knew once said that our greatest undoing as human beings is that we get bored too easily. We are not wired for mundane. We always want something spectacular to make us feel alive and so we are easily distracted. The first time we see the sunrise our eyes grow bigger and well up with tears at this beauty; kind of like the cat in Shrek. One day, two days, three days later and we are no longer waking up to chase the sunrise. It reminds me of the common phrase, “Ooooh, something shiny…..” It reminds me of Dory in finding Nemo; how easily we are distracted and how easily we forget.
We read through the bible and see the children of Israel see the Red Sea part and walk on the sea bed as on dry land, only to push Aaron to make them a golden calf so they could worship it because Moses had stayed too long on the mountain. (Exodus 32:1)
We read of the same Israelites and how wowed they were at manna the first few days only to turn and ask for meat and the delicacies of Egypt. (Numbers 11:4-6)
We read of idols and how people turned from God to worship things/ artefacts/ items created by the hands of men. With the same wood used for fire and to cook, he crafts a god and falls to worship it (Isaiah 44:14-19)
We read these stories and we wonder what was wrong with the children of Israel. How was it possible to see all that they saw, to be a chosen people and yet allow distractions to turn them away from God and turn them towards mere things? It simply does not make any sense. We are quick to point an accusing finger at the Israelites. We are quick to forget that the fact that we do not have tangible wooden or golden crafted images does not mean that we do not have idols we pour out our devotion to. Whatever we spend our time on and expend the bulk of our energy on is what we are devoted to. After all, actions speak louder than words.
So what does it say of us when our first thought is to check our social media the moment we wake up? Our screens are usually blinking green and red alerting us of likes, tags, comments, shared memes and GIFs, incoming messages, group notifications, new emails, alerts and shared links. Our first thought is to check what all the screen blinking is about…….
What does it say of us when our prayers are exactly timed for the shower since we have nothing else we are doing in there any way? There’s no device in our hands save the wash cloth and that does not need concentration so we can divide our attention between prayer and scrubbing clean; not because we could not have woken up earlier and taken a knee….. but you know eight hours of sleep is important, right? While we are at it, we can place the Bluetooth speakers outside the bathroom door and play some music as we finish getting ready for the day. After all, if we play some worship music we will set the mood for prayer as we shower, right?
What does it say of us when our television or computer screens see more of our face than the bible? One episode after another, one movie after another, one update after another and one playlist after another. Our vision is growing dim from always being in front of a screen instead of growing sharper through the revelation of gazing into the Word. “But I do read the bible…. on the bus…. as I head to work….. from the devotion prepared by another person…. as I periodically scroll through the updates constantly streaming in.” We have conveniently forgotten that it is not a chore we have to complete daily, but that we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of truth (2nd Timothy 2:15).
What does it say of us when we are more excited about concerts, music, dance and poetry events, ‘fun’ things but considering the gathering of saints only when it is convenient or when we feel like? Church is a chore, praise and worship is a bore unless we are dancing vigorously or in sync with the service leader as s/he teaches us new moves to the newest song. What happened to stillness? Does it no longer have a place in worship?
What happened to earnestly seeking God ABOVE ALL else? What happened to having Him as our priority? Does He only matter and count in our sudden bouts of excitement or emotional outbursts when we feel like our chests are exploding with love after an emotionally-charged event? Can we no longer see the beauty of His majesty and holiness unless we feel it coursing through our veins? Is salvation and conversion something shiny that we trade in periodically for something entertainment – something shinier that reflects more of us and less of Christ? Are we investing more in ‘feeling’ rather than faith?
Whatever we feed grows; whatever we starve withers and dies.
Shall we cast aside this god of entertainment in all its forms and variations? Shall we esteem God over and above these ‘feel good’ things that have taken over our lives without our knowledge; these tares that were sown while we were asleep? Shall we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind? (Matthew 22:37) Shall we love not only in word and with the tongue but in deed and truth? (1st John 3:18) Shall we take hold grace and fix our eyes (unmoved, without distraction) on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith?