Have you noticed that the things which impress most people mean very little to God, and the things which really matter to God are often undervalued or even despised by men?
Take church buildings, for example. Man tends to place such great emphasis upon physical buildings and structures. The grandeur of the great cathedrals all around the world are a testament to man’s values. Communities judge churches by the size and elegance of their buildings, the height of their steeples. Which “church” is the most expensive and which stands at the center of town? These are important questions to people looking for the “best” church.
People want to know which church has the richest members, the most influential in the community. Which one is most involved in politics, and what religion is the President? These things really matter to many people. They seldom stop to think that the church of the Bible is described as “those who were everywhere spoken against,” (Acts 28:22).
People are also very interested in the preacher’s salary and the preacher’s clothing. Which television preacher is the highest paid? Which one has the largest church? Which has the most influence in the politics of his (or her) state? These are all marks of importance to their way of thinking. Never mind that the Man they claim to follow was poor and lowly, and the mob cast lots for his garment at the time of his death.
God uses a different measuring stick. When God sent his prophet, Samuel, to anoint King Saul’s successor, Samuel looked confidently at the man he thought would be the next king, and said, “Surely Jehovah’s anointed is before” me! But God said, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart,” (1 Sam. 16:6-7). Sometimes our way of thinking needs to be adjusted. When the mighty Midianites terrorized God’s people, Gideon’s calculations had to be decreased from an army of 32,000 soldiers down to 300 men. Why? So that Israel would not “vaunt themselves” against God and conclude that they had saved themselves, (Judges 6:33-7:25). That is, God had to show them that their way of thinking was utter foolishness compared to his power and wisdom.
Sometimes we plan our lives and our daily activities based upon what we think we can accomplish, and we leave God completely out of the picture. We build such great castles in the sand, constructed on the foolishness of men rather than the wisdom of God. If we are not careful, we may find ourselves to be fighting against God, even while we say we are serving him. By substituting our own opinions and wisdom, we may actually be overlooking the power of the primitive Gospel of Almighty God.
We sometimes think of life as a big game, and he who dies with the most possessions or money or power wins. We forget that there is a much more important factor at play. God is still in control. The way we spend our time and money needs to be governed less by what we think, and more by what God says. The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men, (1 Cor. 1:25).
Nations, such as our own, need to remember who is really in charge, and who’s opinion really matters. All of the military power in the world, all of the weapons that man could possibly construct or amass, cannot rival the power of God. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). And, it may be also concluded: If God be against us, who can be for us? Our foolish valuations and opinions melt away before the wisdom and power of God. The things which impress and amaze us may be actually quite foolish and silly in reality. And, conversely, things which we tend to mock or minimize may have a greater significance after all.
Christians, let’s remember to always keep God at the center of our plans, to always give him a seat at the table. Let’s be sure that our thinking and planning is in line with his word, and that we are properly valuing the resources he places in our hands. Let’s look a little harder for the beauty and majesty of HIS way, and remember that it is best after all.
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.