A Scarecrow in a Melon Patch

Greg Stier
Greg Stier

Scarecrow“Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good. No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.” Jeremiah 10:5,6

A false god is like a scarecrow in a melon patch. It can’t see. It can’t talk. It can’t change your situation. All it can do is take up space and scare away birds.

Of course I’m not referring to the types of idols that are set up on a mantle and bowed down on your knees like in ancient days. No, I’m talking about the types of gods that are worshipped on Wall street, main street and back streets everywhere. Whether it be the love of money, an addiction to technology, acts of sexual promiscuity, religious pride or the ultra-deceptive idol of ministry worship, the 21st century can hold its own with any pagan culture of the past when it comes to idolatry.

Walk down the main drag of any city and you’ll see firsthand the idols that abound. They tempt us with instant gratification and deceive us into thinking that they hold the answers to all of our problems. If we buy it, if we try it, then we’ll be happy. There very presence whispers, “Bow down. Pay homage. Satisfy your inner pagan urge.”

But only God is great and mighty in power. Only God can bring lasting joy. Only God is worthy of our worship and affection. Everything else falls grossly short. Everything else is blind, deaf, dumb and impotent in it’s ability to satisfy…including ministry “success.”

This is the scarecrow that battles for my heart. This is the idol that fights for my allegiance. It is the Baal that taps me on the shoulder when things are going well and when things are not.

In the midst of ministry mayhem, meetings and mission its easy to let a passion for ministry success edge God off the throne of my heart. In the name of spiritual impact I can, like any other depraved leader, “exchange the truth of God for a lie.”

Soon the ministry altar that was erected to honor God becomes the idol itself. Soon I’m worshipping created things instead of the Creator.

That’s why verses like Jeremiah 10:5,6 hit me so hard. These power punch passages are necessary for me to read, re-read and meditate on. That’s why I also love and need the communion table. The bread and wine remind me that my idolatrous tendencies were nailed to the cross and that I am risen with Christ with a new identity and a new object of worship, Jesus Christ himself!

Let’s burn the scarecrow. Let’s refuse to bow before anyone or anything else (including ministry) except God alone. For he is the only One worthy of our praise.

On a side note, why am I all of a sudden hungry for watermelon?

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