Anyone who trusts God knows this is a foolish comparison. But it illustrates how willing we are to make time for the heroes of the world and not the God who made them. It’s worth taking an extra minute to imagine it. Be careful here, answering properly instead of honestly is a certain temptation. So let’s be frank about it, and if you’re not a Bill Gates fan, plug in some other hero to test yourself.
If the offer was a regular 4:00 AM call from Bill to speak his wisdom into my life, I for one would be lottery-winning excited, and absolutely willing to become an early riser for such an encounter. And as a man passionately in love with God, I would certainly spend time in prayer thanking Him for such a blessing, wholeheartedly considering how the experience could bring glory to Him.
What common-sense Christian, who makes his living in business, wouldn’t react this way? Honestly? And yet, what common sense Christian has such a reaction over the better offer? Sure, we know that Bill is not really going to call, but we know that Jesus, the one who made Bill, calls every day, and most of us just let it ring.
Why are we like this? How is it that we who love God can so easily rationalize getting up early for an encounter with Bill, while ignoring a daily encounter with the source of all wisdom, including Bill’s? Perhaps it is this kind of rationalization that most clearly demonstrates how we as sincere believers have learned to navigate life inadvertently by the soul – the mind, will, and emotions – rather than by the Spirit of God who dwells within our own spirit – a difference as subtle on the surface as the weight of a fingerprint and yet as powerful as its seven billion to one distinctiveness.
By answering this question honestly instead of properly, I find myself leaning upon my own understanding – logic, desires, and feelings such as fear or elation – rather than the intangible, illogical voice of God, and ultimately being bullied by what is seen rather than being gently led by what is unseen. By forecasting my reaction, I’ve preemptively agreed that time spent with Bill Gates is ultimately more spectacular than time spent with the creator of life itself. Oh I desperately want to disagree, but my actions, even hypothetically considered, if honest, will simply not allow it.
As a result of this type of decision making, we Christians have created what I now refer to as “accidental idols” – a kind of enthronement of good things, based on common sense, and the abdication of the King of all things, whose directives almost never make sense. Off we go in the wrong direction as inch by inch these idols creep past His presence until they’ve become the road instead of the landscape in our worldview. In other words, our slightly off-parallel focus gradually changes our direction away from God’s voice and toward our own – something we gladly embrace by calling it wisdom.
Perhaps the real question is: Has our Christian thinking been shifted enough by the world’s wisdom (common sense) to reshape us into a mainstream body of accidental idolaters? A body who quotes scripture but lives as if it were only a smart cartoon, and where building an ark in the desert, standing at the Red Sea with open arms, and running toward a giant with a sling, is only taken literally by the spooky fringe.
If that is the case – not what we say, but what our actions prove, the danger is that we may think we’re living in the safety of God’s wisdom when in fact, we like King Solomon, are subtly falling prey to idolatry. If anything has more control over our decisions than God’s voice, Solomon’s end results would be true for us as well.
Isaiah 44:15-17 (regarding God’s gift of wood for man to use) helps illustrate:
It is man’s fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me; you are my god.”
Until my own financial meltdown, I never realized this problem. But since then, I have been steeped in idolatry detox where my wife and I have come to a new low in that we are finally flat broke but a new high in that we are finally and flatly broken. We actually have the rare gift of putting our faith into action because it’s all we have. And that comes with a sense of real purpose and distinct direction. Now that we can see clearly, we have resolved to work together in absolute faith – praying with our feet moving as God alone directs. If we take courage and follow God’s Spirit rather than our own brand of logic, we begin to see the kind of impossible breakthroughs we find in scripture. So today let’s consider the question, answer it honestly, and then make the time for God as if it were Bill Gates on the phone. Then remember that HE IS GOD, and Bill is just Bill.
Craving more of Kevin’s faith-building articles? Check out Resting on the Floor of Your Wilderness
Kevin Adams: Author, popular blogger, and former successful businessman, who, after losing everything he worked years to achieve, made a radical choice to let go of conventional thinking, and live literally by faith in God, to see where it would lead him. Kevin shares his experience with a transparent, elevated writing style that has challenged and encouraged thousands, earning him a trusted reputation in the Christian community.
His new release from Zondervan, available May 6, 2014 is on sale now. The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends