Miriam and I were home alone, Tim was on his regular business trips to Taipei. Getting up at ten o'clock in the morning is normal as a summer-privilege for Miriam. One morning last week Miriam and I were talking during a late breakfast, enjoying the fact that we were inside sheltered from the scorching morning sun, and the conversation we were having was intermittently interrupted by the busy birds in the patio. Then the topic on worship came about. Miriam often surprises me with her wit and understanding of life. She is young but she understands concepts and how it is displayed in peoples lives.
Although the juvenile mind still lacks the experience to see the parallel image of the physical in the spiritual sense of the world, there is the transparency in every child that seem to peel away the filters that older people have put on over the years. And hence the importance of having a regular parent-child philosophical exchange. That was the case of our conversation. Needless to say, we had a very interesting, sweet and honest conversation.
It all began with a quote by David Foster Wallace:
"In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship ... is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive."
1. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough.
2. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.
3. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay.
4. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.
Think about it. We worship that which drives us to the choices and actions we take. It drives us to make sacrifices because we think that it is glorifying to that which/or whom we worship. We suffer for which we worship. We are fearful of what we worship. We do not want to offend that which we worship.
So this begs the question, who or what do I worship? What consumes me? Does it revitalizes me or does it drain the life out of me? I was stunned at my own question.
I've always assumed that I worship God. I do the things a good Christian does, or so I think. But if I truly worship God why then do I not have the peace that comes only from worshiping God? Why then do I not think of God as often as I should? Why then do I not choose based on what makes God look good. Why then am I not afraid of the consequences of my lack of attention. As I write these diagnostic questions, pictures of things that possibly could have won my worship flashed in my head. "Do I really worship God?" "Good question."
To make a long story short, I admitted to my daughter that I seem to worship the welfare of my family. It is what I think about in every passing day. The thought of messing it makes me fearful. One might say it is typical for a wife/mother to have such concerns. And yet it is obvious that I seemed to have placed my family on the pedestal that rightfully belongs to God. (Lord, forgive me and help me adjust my life in the right way!)
In like manner my daughter was able to easily recognize the thing that consumes her - high grades. It is the trap that gets smart and over-achieving people.
There is a very fine line between enjoyment and worship. We enjoy the gift and worship the giver. And from time to time we get mixed up. When we take pride in the blessings that God has given us to enjoy and we begin to use it to define who we are; when we begin to value the blessing over the Giver; when we begin to believe the blessing has power to give us peace and life - that's when we stopped worshiping God.