Lenten Devotion: Center of Value
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Center of Value
“Trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and idol…For the two, faith and God, hold close together. Whatever then thy heart clings to…and relies upon, that is properly thy God.”
Many times we value our life based on its meaningfulness or happiness. This all revolves around our desires and that which aids in our fulfillment. Richard Niebuhr states, “We are forced to recognize that many things bring satisfaction into our lives… we are so interdependent on all the beings about us that we inevitably admire, adore, and look to other sources of value and meaning to ourselves.” These objects of adoration naively become our “centers of value,” as he defines it. Whether tangible and visible things, or ideas and concepts, “they are all finite and make finite claims upon us,” according to Niebuhr. Once we become aware that the adoration of these finite gods will fail us in our pursuit of happiness and that they are unable to save us, we are at odds.
This explanation gives a different voice to scriptures such as the Ten Commandments. The commands turn from harsh dictates to pre-warnings and calls of God’s love and desire for us. Beneath the pain of letting go of that which appears to please me, I hear the still voice saying “I love you, draw near, have faith in Me. All others will fail you with no remorse.”
“Observe the Sabbath” is now God’s voice of longing to spend time with us, ceasing false gods of busyness of our pursuits from consuming all our days.
I hear the trust in God’s voice with “Honor your mother and father.” Caring for those who came before us and who cared for us, just as the Lord goes before us and cares for us, increasing our days on earth.
Peace follows with a question of “Why covet something so much so, that we would lie, steal or kill for it?” But instead, delight ourselves in the Lord who says that He will give us the desires of our hearts; good gifts withholding nothing.
He is God alone and no other can be or do that which the Creator of heaven and earth can. To love the Lord and place Him as our center of value and not that of finite objects of desire, silences the storms, earthquakes and fires of life where the faithful whisper of God’s persistent love can be heard. For we are the center of all that God values.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! -Psalms 139:17-18 NLT
See also –
1 Kings 19:11-12
SFTS MDiv Student