By Rev. Eric Brown
Sinful people like to turn the blessings God has given them into idols. It’s sort of our sinful heart’s go to thing to do. Consider the parable of the banquet. The master has offered one fantastic blessing – the banquet to end all banquets. And it is the best thing that could be. And yet, so many invited do not come. Excuses are made – idols are revealed. A new field, 10 oxen, a new bride. These things are all great blessings, but they get used against the master, used to denigrate and downplay and ignore his feast. And they miss the party. Doesn’t ruin things for the master or his banquet – he just keeps on inviting people. But because these people clung so tightly to their blessings, they miss the party of the year.
The same thing is true in life. Our God is a giver. He delights in giving you things. That’s why He created us in the first place – to give us blessing upon blessing. Yet the sin and idolatry of our heart does something so odd. It focuses on a single blessing so much that we cast others aside. It addicts us to something so that we’d cut off the rest of the blessings gives us. The love of money and its worship can make us neglect many other blessings God gives. That’s a common enough story. And while family and friends are indeed great blessings, we can become so focused on pleasing them that we abandon things that are good. Whatever thing that drives you and calls out to you, whatever good thing that you put such a focus on that it dominates your life and lessens it – that’s an idol. The sinful heart loves to turn any good thing into an idol and an addiction, robbing us of joy.
Yet God remains a giver. Even as we are tempted to ignore His gifts, He keeps giving. And not just temporal, earthly gifts; among all the blessings He gives, the greatest are the spiritual gifts, are eternal life and salvation – given through the forgiveness won by Christ. It is the forgiveness proclaimed from the pulpit and altar in His service. And so over and over the call goes out to come to this feast, to the foretaste of the feast to come.
And you will have idols trying to keep you from the feast. You will have many good things from God that your heart has twisted to where they try to call you way from His House. Might be cash, a job, a sunny day. Maybe “family time” – maybe a myriad other things – things that in and of themselves are good, yet your sinful flesh wants to abuse like an addict. But as they call out to you, remember that God calls out to you even more. The same God who gave you such good things has promised you all these and much more, and for all eternity. Indeed, an eternity where you will enjoy and use them rightly and fully, and they will no longer be idols. Just blessings from God. And today, God’s Word calls you away from this, so that He in His love and give you these and all blessings. Come, for all things are ready for you – both now and forever.
Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.