So once upon a time an older person met a younger person. They didn’t know each other very well, but were connected through socio-cultural similarities.
Wanting to encourage the younger person, the older person chose to give advice about their potential life choices.
See if these words sound familiar…
You’re interested in writing? You should go to a four-year college and get a Master of Fine Arts degree! That will let you make money as an author.
You did very well with your three lines in the church play! Maybe you should go to a four-year acting college, move to California sight-unseen, and get a job in the movies!
You enjoyed high school math and economics? Invest in that! Go to this website and check out internships in your field, then look into advancing your education and getting into clerical/economic positions!
Do you notice anything…off?
Naturally, there’s a lot of good here: the older person is trying to affirm the younger person…to notice their interests and passions…to give them positive feedback…and encourage them to better themselves.
The older person wishes only the best for the younger person. They seize on what little data they can find, and build on that…with nothing but the best intentions.
What god do these people worship?
Take a close look at the quotes. There’s not a lot to go on, is there? There’s mention of a “church play”…but what else in the scene places these two characters?
They might be meeting at a Lions Club. They might be distant relatives at a family reunion. Perhaps they’re total strangers interacting briefly in a store.
Look again at what the older person said. Based only on their words, who (or what) do they
consider the most important thing in the world worship?
Short Aside—What Is A God?
If you’ve ever read the Bible, you know that “idols” are things people worship apart from God, and it makes Him very angry.
Because, if we’re Christians, we’re “married” to God…but every time we put something else in His place, that’s like having an affair with the idol.
That’s what He literally says through his prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
(Anyone else feeling dirty right now?)
My dad defines a “god” as this—
A god is something we go to when we want to get things done…or something whose claims on us we acknowledge.
Money is an easy target. It’s even mentioned in the Bible. Money is a very generous god…it gives us anything we could desire.
But in exchange, it demands our soul.
Power and sex are other “gods” we go to for getting what we want.
Sports is a harsh authoritarian, demanding our Sunday mornings, our school nights, and our time with family. It can be hard to deny Sports the things it demands.
Pride? Pride is a god worshiped by many (including me – that’s why Jesus needs to change my heart). I want other people to praise me, to acknowledge me, and to speak great things of me. Because (get this) it’s all focused on ME…not God.
And in exchange, Pride rots my heart from the inside out.
Back to Our Fairytale…Who Gets My Life?
An older person spots a younger person…just starting out, an image of what they themselves once were, with a chance to do anything and be anything this world offers.
This older person wants to advise the younger person…to give them a hint about the direction they should take…to encourage them to put their youthful energies and resources into something meaningful.
So the older person says:
[…what would you say?…]
[…what is the most important thing?…]
[…what one thing would you point to, that you wish every whipper-snapper in your life would devote themselves whole-heartedly to?…]
There’s no guarantee they’ll listen. They’re young…they probably won’t.
But what is so critical, so vital, that you’ll use your one interaction with this incarnation of Past You to impart?
Think about it. Your answer will say a lot about where your heart is…
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