I Carry an Idol In My Pocket

It was turning out to be one of those days.

Sara’s iPad charge cord was smashed during her recent Thailand trip.  So she asked to borrow mine.  Being the generous man that I am, I said, “yes”.  Later that evening, I saw that my phone was at 11% battery life, but the iPad was still charging so I waited.  When I finally did plug my now depleted phone in, it started to buzz at regular intervals.

“That’s weird,” I thought.  So I plugged it into my computer.  It then started to ding at regular intervals and the screen was still black.  It never lit up with that comforting Apple logo.

“This is not good,” I thought.

Photo on 10-31-14 at 10.23 AMLong story short (TOO LATE!), I talked to the phone company, drove to the Apple store in Indy and then in desperation gave it to a cell-phone repair shop here in town.  I haven’t heard anything.  But while all that was happening, I managed to crack the corner of the screen on my own iPad.

Yeah, it was definitely turning out to the be one of those days.  But please don’t feel bad for me yet…

After all this, I was driving back from Indy and listening to a sermon podcast.  I was only 30 min into the drive when I realized what the Lord was teaching me.  I didn’t hear a voice or have the clouds make words in the sky, but it was clear in the words of the sermon and clear in my mind.

I was serving idols.

And before you protest and explain that idols are the things the Apostle Paul had to deal with in Athens and Rome, let me explain what I know is true.  Yes, the Greeks and Romans worshiped many gods.  We’ve all heard of Zeus and Aphrodite, but there were other gods too.  Hephaestus (or “Vulcan” if you’re Roman), for example, was the god of metal smiths, weapons, machines and technology.  While the people of Paul’s day worshipped these gods in temples and bought little silver statues in their likeness to take home with them, we go to places like the Apple store and buy iPhones that we take home with us and carry around in our pocket.  For some of us, there’s not much difference between the two.

Now, I’m not saying that iPhones are automatically idols.  They are tools.  But an idol is anything that takes the place of God and for many of us technology is something we buy, spend time with and value.  It still might not be idol status for you, but what happens when your iPhone suddenly stops working and your iPad gets a cracked screen?  I can’t speak for you, but for me…

I realized how much my heart is attached to technology.  

I realized that I was worshipping an idol.

And like all idols, most of the time I’m chasing what it promises (iPhone 6+ anyone?).  And if I get it, it never satisfies.

I am going to get another iPhone.  But this time, I’m going to work on keeping it a tool and not an idol.  That means being willing to lay it down…

And worship God alone.

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