“So don’t worry, saying “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things...”
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“‘So don’t worry, saying “What will we eat” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’” Matthew 6:31-34 (HCSB)
My family is from Arkansas. We’re SO Southern that my mom’s name is Dixie! One time we were asked to leave a Chinese restaurant after my mom wandered into their family shrine and asked my dad to take a photo of her tickling Buddha’s belly while she said, “Koochy-koochy-coo!”
After that episode, whenever I heard a preacher talking about idolatry, the only image I had was of Dixie rubbing Siddhartha’s tummy. I wondered, “How could those people be so crazy as to believe that an idol carved from wood or stone (or pressed in plastic) has the power to bless or curse them?” I was so glad Americans aren’t idol worshippers. Well, try telling that to Simon Cowell of American Idol fame.
An idol is anything that you assign power to bless (or curse) you. An idol is anything (intended or not) that you trust more than God or the Bible.
How does this look in our culture? Let’s see. Are you satisfied with your wardrobe? Do you feel more powerful or attractive when you wear certain outfits? What about the clothes that you just sent to Goodwill? Did they use to make you feel powerful but somehow they lost their “power” last season?
What about cars, electronics, or comfort foods? Americans are no less idolaters than any other pagan culture. It’s just that our idolatry is more sophisticated. We are all guilty to some extent, including me. Now, there is nothing wrong with owning nice things or being fashionably trendy. The sin is the power and worship we ascribe to such things. Power and worship belong to God alone.
To quote the great theologian Mick Jaggar of the Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.” Of course, Mick Jaggar was as far from a theologian as a person could be, but the Bible says God knows what we need, so don’t worry about fashion or food. We should always be keen to focus our worship on the Provider instead of His provision.
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©Steve Wiggins 2021