The first ticket represents an event held in a town of 40,000 people and over 50,000 people were there — more people were there than even live in this town! The latter ticket represents an event held in a city of over 120,000 and 250 people attended. The $624.00 event had people in the crowd excitedly praising men on the field who threw and kicked a pig-skin ball and cursing men on the field who wore black and white stripes. The $12.00 event contained a much smaller crowd praising the Almighty God with a Dove Award winner.
Written on the $624 stub: "Texas vs. Oklahoma State"
Written on the $12.00 stub: "Nichole Nordeman"
Now before you think I would ever pay $624.00 for a press box football ticket, let me assure you I would not! It was given to me. I had absolutely no idea that football tickets could cost this much and as I sit here and see the visual of that number on my computer screen, I'm still in shock.
Can I have your hearts for a minute, and can I pose a somewhat uncomfortable question for all of us? How long have we crossed the line? As Christians, are we just as guilty of replacing the one true God with other gods? Is this just one more example (out of hundreds in our lives) that God is addressing when he spoke the first commandment in Exodus 20:3: "You shall have no other gods before me"? I often wonder if tears are streaming down God's face as he watches us put a multitude of worldly things so far in front of Him. I wonder of the 50,000 people at this one college football game, how many worship God with as much passion as they had watched this 4-hour football game — or if they worship Him at all. I could ask myself the same question.
Can I tell you, I have forsaken the one true God? The God who says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world ...." (1 John 2:15) I have comfortably tucked away in a place of denial the written words of God defining himself as a jealous God. I have placed so many gods before Him that my obsessive behavior and my worldly surroundings have impaired my vision and corrupted my heart! I am blind. I am incapable of seeing God for who He really is — the I AM on His throne — the only one deserving of my praise, honor and time.
Truthfully, I am so calloused to this world that I don't know anymore how to separate from it. When God asks me to live a divine life as His adopted daughter, I've translated that to mean I get to do everything I want to do and spend money where I want to spend it as long as I "go to church." Isn't that what we as Christians do — trade our "divine" life for a "daily" one and then somehow try to justify worshipping our many other gods by at least "going to church" for a couple of hours a week? Stop me if I'm wrong.
What are your gods? Do you know what they are? If you don't, will you be open enough to ask God to show you?
Here are some questions God has brought to the forefront of my mind in the last couple of days as we look honestly into our hearts:
- Why do we spend 3.29 BILLION dollars on a holiday that involves us dressing up (evil or not) and asking strangers for candy? Did you know that 140 MILLION dollars of that was spent on Halloween GREETING CARDS? How can we spend 140 MILLION dollars on Halloween cards when the people in the country of Africa are dying of AIDS and hunger?
- Why do we see Christmas decorations (primarily having nothing to do with Jesus) available in stores in September? Maybe because if we're going to spend the 435.3 BILLION dollars we spent last year, we need at least 3 months to do it!
- Why do we take BILLIONS of pictures a year (and spend billions of dollars doing it) that we look at one time and then do nothing with them of significance?
- Why do we put our children in 10 different activities and then gripe everyday about how busy we are?
- Why do we continue to watch T.V. when there is nothing there that honors or glorifies God?
- Why do we let the world define for us our significance and our worth?
- Why do we drive cars that cost more than houses?
- Does winning a football, basketball, soccer, hockey or baseball game have anything to do with our salvation?
- Why do we let the world mold our children into "its" image instead of the image of Christ?
- Why do we have so much STUFF in our houses and continue to buy more?
- Why do we have clothes in our closet 3 sizes too small and think we need to keep them because someday we might fit in them again? On that note, why didn't someone put spandex in our jeans years ago? (Making sure you were still paying attention!)
Spandex humor aside, are we going to stand up and be counted for Christ? Are we, as God's chosen people, ever going to say enough is enough? Are we just going to say it, or are we going to live it? Are we going to ever be obedient to the scriptures that tell us to be in the world but not of it? Am I going to keep comparing my "gods" to your "gods" in hopes that I can justify my gods as the exception? Can we, by the mercy of God, ever forsake our gods and as Nichole Nordeman sung that night, "be children of mercy and grace who bless HIS and only HIS name unapologetically?"
The first commandment is for all of us: "You shall have no other gods before me."
There will always be a choice of tickets: $624.00 or $12.00.
Which will we choose — gods or God?
We cannot choose both.