Is there anything worse than taking things back? You have accomplished a task, marked something off of your to do list, and then because it is too big, too small, the wrong color, broken, whatever, you have to add a new errand right back to the list. Hate it. Well, I’m going to tell you a little story at my own expense. Within my tribe we call this “confesh.” It is short for confession. (We also say Amazefest USA a lot. Welcome.). So here it is, confesh…
I had been searching for cute, vintage inspired drinking glasses to match my antique wine glasses for a while. Then one night we were at my brother and sis-in-love’s for dinner and she served my tea in the cutest glasses you’ve ever seen. I said, “This is exactly what I have been looking for but I want them in “my blue” instead of clear.” (Everything in my world is a turquoise blue right now… the walls at the Ranchito, my dishes, my new rain boots, my bitmoji’s dress. When I’m over this color I will have to sell my entire life). To this my sis-in-love says they are Pioneer Woman glasses from WALMART and they come in blue!!!! Excellent. So, with some spring entertaining on the horizon I sat down at the computer the next day and ordered 12 adorable glasses…. or so I thought. A few days later I was summoned to the front door by my oldest saying, “Mom, what are ALL these boxes?” I went out to find 12 medium-sized boxes strewn all down the front walk. When I saw they were from Pioneer Woman I was so excited but then did have the thought, “Man, Ree is serious about packing these cute glasses.” Y’all, when I opened them up I realized that every box was a pack of 4 glasses! I had 48 glasses. 12 boxes. Good grief.
Yes, I should have realized that each glass was not $15 from Walmart. I know. Whatever. Good Confesh. So, I kept not just the original 12 glasses but made room for 16 just so it was one less box to take back… To Walmart. Ugh! Currently there are 8 boxes of glasses sliding around in the back of my car. I have rearranged them multiple times to make room for groceries, bikes, baseball gear and soccer chairs because I am avoiding the whole taking them back thing. Boo!
The dread of taking things back or exchanging them reminds me of Romans 1, one of the most powerful chapters in the Bible. Romans 1:18-22 says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the foolishness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Romans 1:25 sums it up like this, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.”
We see a few important things here. First of all, God is not trying to hide from us. It says that since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities have been clearly seen in that very creation. It says that what may be known about God is plain to everyone because He has made it plain to them. Then Paul goes on to write that men are without excuse, because God has literally gone out of His way to make Himself plain to us. I like this. No excuses. God is not trying to make things mysterious or difficult. He is not just for the extremely learned or perfectly holy. He is in plain view with every sunrise, wildflower, ocean wave, child’s smile, or full moon. BUT, we also see that mankind has chosen to exchange what they plainly, in their very souls, know about God, for foolishness and futile thoughts. They exchanged their worship of the Immortal God for the worship of mortal things. They exchanged truth for lies. A big, dumb exchange.
We do it too, don’t we? Exchange the truth of God for lies? Exchange our gratitude and worship of the Creator for gratitude and worship of the things He has created? Now when I read Romans 1:23 and learn that they are worshiping “images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles,” I picture some sort of totem pole you would find in Indiana Jones or on the River Cruise at Disney (Sorry, I have a weird Disney filter of the world being from Florida and all). Maybe images of Aaron’s golden calf come to mind. I doubt any of us are bowing down to these literal carved images. But we do bow to man-made things, don’t we? We wouldn’t say that we worship money, but if our time and brain power were indicators, we sure do worship what it can buy.
I have had seasons of bowing down to my home and what I wanted to do to it, put in it, make it look like, etc. Hello, HGTV. What a love/hate relationship I have with you! I’ve done it with clothes too. I will admit that there was a time I spent way too much time obsessing over what my kids would wear. (And, they did look PRESH once upon a time. Now we generally go for hobo-chic. It’s kinda like boho-chic except without so much the matching and the hair fixed). What about all the things we can buy or do to make ourselves look better- I mean have you seen all the YouTube tutorials out there on hair and make-up? What about working out? Any exercise idolaters out there? Paul even speaks to this one in I Timothy 4:8 when he says, “For physical training is of some value but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Are you faithful to the gym but find it difficult to set time aside to spend with Jesus? We can worship people- they are created things too. Have you ever worshiped your husband or your kids? And please keep in mind that worshiping doesn’t necessarily mean that you think every move they make is perfect. Our worship is evident in the time, energy, and sacrifice we make. We can spend a lot of time thinking, complaining, or trying to control what we don’t like. That is still worship.
Obviously, anything that we put in front of or in place of God is an idol in our lives. It is an exchange. I doubt anyone would admit to this worship but if we count brain cells spent or words poured out we would see the heart. Here’s another confesh for you… I probably expend the most worship on myself. I think about me a lot. I think about how I feel or what I want to do. I think about what I want to accomplish or what I think someone may think about me. I think about what I think about me! Though you may not know it to look at me, I do in fact spend a bit of time thinking about what I look like or what I wished I looked like. I worship my expectations of others. I worship my to-do lists. I worship my agendas. I have exchanged the truth of God- that He is central, that He is all I need, that He is actually God, for a lie- that I am what is most important, that my feelings are what matter most, that I am god of my life, my family, even my day. I know that I make a terrible god, and yet I still bow down to self an awful lot. What a stupid exchange I have made. And the more I do it, the darker, more foolish, and more futile my thoughts, my heart, and my words become.
You see, Jesus made The Greatest Exchange for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” We get to exchange our sin for His righteousness. Our shame for His holiness. Our guilt for His perfection. Our darkness for His light. Our death for His life. Our hunger for His manna.
We were made to worship… Just look around at how we obsess over celebrities, how fired up we get at sporting events, at how we feel at concerts. We are worshipers. Let’s encourage each other to not make foolish exchanges. Let’s seek the Father’s face and not just His hands. Let’s keep Creator and creation in their right places and exchange the lies for the truth of God. Nothing else will last. Nothing else will fulfill. He is our very great reward, not what He has given us or what He can do for us, or what He has made for us. No excuses. It is plain. Cheers!