Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rejecting the Idols of the Immediate

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4.
In this passage from Ephesians, the Apostle Paul calls us to reject a focus on “this” life and instead focus on matters of eternal significance. How difficult it is for most of us to “set our minds on things above,” when it seems that 99% of our waking moments are consumed by thoughts of what I refer to as the “idols of the immediate.” We spend most of our time thinking about good things--workplace pressures, financial needs; family matter. In our case, we are knee-deep in crying babies, changing diapers. Others might spend time thinking about social life, sports, or entertainment.
Regardless of what interests and background we have, we tend to surround ourselves with people who think the same way we do, value the same things we do, and reinforce for us, in our own minds, that same value system as to “idols of the immediate.” I recall a humorous conversation with a client of mine about how certain professionals in my industry (attorneys) value themselves and their work. It became clear to this client that the only people who were concerned about certain titles within our industry are the attorneys themselves—our clients don’t care. Similarly, I wonder how much we consider “important” in our minds or our own social circles are just idols of the immediate—that is, empty promises of satisfaction that, if followed wholeheartedly throughout a lifetime, will only lead to disillusionment and then ultimately destruction.
Every once in a while, I re-discover a continuing, ongoing blessing from Micah’s homegoing. When a great calamity strikes, such as the unexpected death of one son, it is such much easier to pick up on those idols of the immediate and reject them for what they are, and then refocus our lives and energies where they ought to be--on the eternal. I’m certain that, in the absence of Micah’s death, Heather and I would be more closely tied, in heart, thought and action, in achieving what we want on this life (“things on this earth”). For us, Micah’s death meant that we could more easily focus on matters of eternal significance.