By Not Known
We are creatures of aspiration. We often search for personal significance in our aspirations. Some find fulfilment in their families and so line their work desks with family photographs. Others find security in their achievements and so also in their display of certificates, medals and trophies on shelves and on walls. Still others repeatedly recount experiences that distinguish them from others, e.g. a humanitarian mission to an infamous disaster area. The very objects that exemplify who we are and what we stand for end up defining or even delimiting our significance. We “worship” those objects, and are upset that others do not pay them similar tribute. But the real reason for our indignation is that people do not honour us in the very objects that enshrine our sense of significance. We have become the idols of our aspirations. Oh, how great I was and am and can be…!
Nebuchadnezzar was unquestionably powerful as a king and successful with his kingdom. The monumental image of gold was fashioned to amplify his significance and enshrine his legacy. That image which glorified him was also to institute royal veneration. But when it failed to achieve its purposes, heads were rolled and blood was shed. An idol may be crafted out of wood and stone, cannot hear and speak; but idolatry is a living spirit that produces jealousy, anger and violence.
Is it then wrong to have aspirations and to capture them in some forms of iconic milestones or representations? Paul offers several perspectives in Acts 17 that may be helpful to us here.
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, … gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
• Recognise that we belong to God; He holds the keys to our lives – Surrender to God.
• Recognise that our time, talent, and treasure are divine endowment, not our entitlement – Account to God.
• Recognise that who we are and what we aspire to become are marked out by God – Follow God.
• Recognise God as the goal in all our aspirations – Glorify God.
Because God is God, and we are not, the question “How Great Thou Art?” is and must be reserved for him ALONE. Once this fundamental is resolutely settled, our aspirations will fall into their humble and godly places. Praise the LORD!