Christmas is coming.
Now, we may not be very far into autumn, Halloween is still almost a month away, and Thanksgiving is a distant thought for those of us here in the US. But reminders are everywhere that Christmas is coming and retailers are working hard to instill a bad case of the gimmies in every consumer. It’s a disease that strikes young and old alike, when raw consumerism and selfishness reign, and though self-restraint may keep us from actually verbalizing, “Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie…” the sentiment can still be found in many.
But The Gimmies aren’t something unique to the Christmas spending season or retail marketing. Somewhere deep within each of us is the desire to grab a hold of the stuff that isn’t ours but we think we deserve.
In Joshua 7, Achan did exactly this. He grabbed a hold of some of the very things God said were only God’s, and, as shared in the last Joshua post, the result was disastrous for the people of Israel. Achan held onto something that wasn’t his and the consequences were dire. His actions should cause each of us to ask if we aren’t holding onto things not ours… things even greater than the shiny new _______ (you fill in the blank) we desire when flipping through the Sunday ads.
Are we attempting to possess something that isn’t really ours? Do we recognize that even ‘our’ job is simply God’s chosen vehicle for his provision in our lives and that it isn’t really ours at all? That our job isn’t ours to squander or take advantage of; it isn’t ours to do with as we please… because it simply isn’t ours?
What about ‘our’ church? We often try to make church what WE want… either in the name of some sacrosanct tradition, because of ‘righteous indignation,’ or in the name of ‘reaching the lost at any cost’ when, at the core of it all we’re just fighting for personal preference and comfort… what we want when we want how we want. And yet, Scripture is clear that the Chruch is Christ’s body over which he is the Head… and as the Sovereign King, His design and desire are all that matter.
Or how about family? Parents (I’m treading lightly here because I recognize I’m not a parent) sometimes forget that ‘their’ children are really lives which belong to God and the parent is given brief stewardship over. Spouses are called to love, respect, protect, and submit to one another not because they belong to each other but because God has, in a sovereign but loving manner, given husbands to their wives and vice-versa.
We all too often commit the sin of Achan, taking the things that are devoted to God and trying to claim them as our own. To those of us in Christ, our call is one to a life of continued, consistent obedience, even in those areas of life which may seem too big/special/scary to trust to God. But they (and we) are His, and so is the victory we seek.