How many Gods do you have?
How many Gods do you have?
Most people in our society today claim to be monotheists – professing to worship only one God. Is this so? In many respects, people in our world are for the most part polytheists. They are content worshiping many gods. They are devoted to the persons in their lives and their things.
In many areas of our society today, a person’s choice of God is much akin to Baskin Robins™ - with 31 flavors – one for each day of the month. Our Old Testament lesson declares that God is one, and that no other god has any reality. What would this say to our world today?
I. What makes a god?
A. The one to whom you are totally devoted that is your god. Whatever that may be – that is your god. Where your heart is - there your treasure will be.
B. What is your “passion” – this is your “god”
II. What “gods” are available in our time? This is indeed a timely discussion for us to have. Especially today, when seated before us are our high school seniors. Across our nation, our young graduates will be tempted to follow other gods. What gods are they?
A. The god of success –
1. The American Dream still lives, they will be told, “and you should live it.” However, what does it mean to live that dream?
2. The one with the most toys wins!
3. Spend everything on self.
B. The god of contentment –
1. We have never had it so good
2. What we consider necessities others regard as luxuries – e.g. the average “welfare” family often has – color televisions, air conditioning, two cars, DVD players, a VCR, etc.
True, we need money to live and thrive. We need careers, and good paying jobs, and an educational system that will train and educate our youth. But what is adequate compensation? What is your net worth? Is it determined by how much we have saved in the bank? God has given each of us talents, abilities and gifts, which we can use to serve others. This is what molds us as persons. We are called to be productive yet we must remember our Creator who has endowed us with His gifts, which enable us to make an impact in our families, our community and our parish.
The issue is not money but the love of money, which attaches itself to pangs of lust, and greed, which forces us to turn, our energies inward rather than outward. Greed and covetousness is what turns us to selfishness and self-centeredness.
C. The god of ease –
1. The refrain, “I keep working for the week-end” was the mantra of our time twenty years ago, and remains so even to this day.
2. Retire early –
3. Become completely focused on self.
D. The result of basing our life on one pleasure stacked on another is that we run out of experiences or we exhaust ourselves and find ourselves still empty, still seeking contentment, still searching for peace.
E. We need this balance in our lives for without it we will be seeking contentment by going from one pleasurable experience followed by another. Yet never understanding and experiencing the true joy which only comes with having a relationship with the one true God.
III. If God is your one God, you must love Him totally - God lays His command to love, “upon your heart” – v.6
A. It is not enough to know you are to love God, nor to understand investigate, or discuss the command. God is not to be analyzed, scrutinized, or dissected. He is totally “other”. He is beyond comprehension.
B. It is to be a matter of the heart. It involves your feelings, your emotions, and your will.
C. Our faith dare not be only cerebral, with a mere intellectual understanding of God. It must get deep into the psyche so that the whole person responds in obedience to God’s command. We are to love God with the whole heart, mind, and soul.
CONCLUSION: The words of our text for this morning make up the Shema, the chief and basic confession of the Old Testament – that there is one God and He is to be worshiped totally. Though God manifests Himself in three persons – He is one essence. To love and worship God calls for us to believe that God is one and He is to be loved with one’s total being.
Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things