Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 12, 2020
Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places. They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. 2 Kings 17:29, 32-33
Your career and vocation is a significant part of your identity, yet it is never meant to be your primary allegiance or loyalty. I find this to be a helpful way to think of the complex and multi-layered word “worship.” At a basic level, as is often noted, worship is to literally “give worth” to someone or something. And in many ways, it is good and right to give worth and value where it is due. We should give worth to our spouse, children, family and friends, seeking to honor and dignify them as image bearers of God. It is even a good and beautiful thing to give worth to our work, to see it as a fundamental part of what it means to be humans who join God in bringing order out of the chaos of the world (Genesis 1:28). Yet if we ever place these pursuits on a similar level of value as our worship of God, we are in big trouble!
True worship is always meant to draw out our fullest and highest allegiance, and by definition this form of loyalty cannot be shared or divided. However, that reality has never stopped us as humans from trying! Throughout the Old Testament, such as the story recounted in 2 Kings 17, we see people attempting to live with divided hearts and divided loyalties. They did not fully abandon their worship of God, yet they thought it would be fine to add additional gods, new sources of devotion into the mix. Though this story is ancient, the temptation is timeless.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
Jesus cuts through our divided loyalties and longings and reminds us of our need for singular devotion. You cannot worship God and money. You cannot worship God and your work. You cannot worship God and your goals for financial freedom or abundance. Trust today that God alone is worthy of worship, and pursue him with an undistracted and fully devoted heart!
Father, teach us to love and worship only you, and to align our lives to the values of your kingdom. Amen.
What “gods” compete for your attention and worship, threatening your worship of God alone?
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