We live in a world of convenience. Men and women have created for themselves a comfort zone whereby everything that he or she wants needs to be at their disposal and at their beck-and-call. Today we have 24-hour convenience stores; shops that remain open on public holidays and also religious holidays. This goes to show “How far we have come” – one step forward; a thousand steps back – even families have been ripped apart through this type of convenience. Everything made by man on this earth is made for his or her convenience and luxury. Or is it?
Is convenience really such a dire need within our world today? Can it be, just maybe, that the end result of convenience is in fact really a means to an end, and by that I mean; abuse and exploitation that masquerades as convenience? Can it also be that people have been so deceived by convenience that they have even allowed themselves to become exploited and abused by it? Many people would deem this as, “Not Good” and perhaps some would even go on to say that it is sinful. Can it be that sin, which dwells so deeply in the heart of man, has caused himself to become desensitised and anaesthetised to the humanity of his fellow man and, what he really has achieved is his own self-gain at the expense of someone else all in the name of convenience? Moreover, can it also be that man has sold himself to convenience that, even when he is being abused and exploited, he is so blinded from the truth that he cannot tell the forest from the trees and goes along with his own self-inflicted, voluntary exploitation and abuse?
Sadly, there are many, that is; “The Pseudo-Religious” who live with the perception that God is at their disposal whenever they have a need to call on His [God’s] name, withstanding the fact that a general statement such as this would obviously not include the one who is Atheist or perhaps even Agnostic.
So many people live their everyday lives blissfully content without God, that is; until trouble comes their way. Suddenly, religion is quickly remembered and the one they call the “BIG MAN UPSTAIRS”, is swiftly called upon even with the backing of Bible verses which are usually out of context but, nevertheless; sent with quick-prayer-airmail to “THE SKY DADDY” and during the period of trouble, pretence and sanctimony is girded up, put on like Combat Trousers and a Flak Jacket , for the sake of convenience. Without sounding like a prognosticator, I tell you, when the trouble has passed on, default and regression is always what ensues, and reversion to the former state; that state of godlessness, is well predicted. Like a “New Year’s Resolution” that is sure to last until the hangover has passed, God will once again become marginalised without any further recognition. “SKY DADDY CAME TO THE RESCUE, and that’s all I need” is the internal anthem of so many hearts and this has been the ageless story of humankind and his self-centered way of life.
Convenience has become and overcome many, and many have made God into “A CONVENIENCE GOD”! Like a Flautist blowing his Flauto, who marches on with the tempo and with the sweet tune of a long-over-used Cover Song, his hope is that God will follow the “Pied Piper” wherever he wishes God to go. If He is not in need, then God is a plague and needs to leave the city, but if there is a need, God must then follow to the closet of religiosity where they can make their pleas and demands to God; “Playing” God to their own convenient needs.
Moreover, most times people abuse the name of God, despise God, mock God and, totally ignore the reality of God’s existence. Well, we can probably write this all off to sin and that the devil has blinded the hearts and minds of people and that he keeps them away from God’s truth and reality. (2 Corinthians 4:4). We can probably understand this to a certain point and realise that the devil has a major part to play in the hearts of every man who does not know Christ. One can also make a case and justify it by saying that; …The heart of man is desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9).
But, can this really be excusable or even justified just by the mere fact of the above-quoted Scripture? Can the gavel of man be pounded down and close the case just because we know that we are all sinners and sinful to the core?
What if a close friend or a family member was exploiting you for their own self-gain? What would you do if you found out one day that the person you trusted and loved, and thought that he or she loved you, was really a “Trojan Horse”; a person that never really loved you back but was only waiting for the right moment to pounce on you, use you and then discard you as if you meant nothing at all? All this time you honestly thought that he or she cared for you but it turns out that you were just an object of convenience to him or her. What would that make you feel like? When there was sickness, you were there caring for him or her. When there was a financial crisis you were there as a financial reprieve and sponsor. When he or she needed advice you were there at all hours – day and night – giving your time and your energy for the sake of counselling them. Everything you ever did was for the good and well-being of this person, and all this time you thought that he or she would reciprocate the deep-hearted affection. Would that not break your heart when you discover that this relationship had always been a one-sided relationship and had in fact, all this time, been a ruse and a despicable plan to use and abuse you? That would almost be unthinkable would not it be? Would one then justify this type of action and go on to say, “Oh well, it’s excusable because, actually, we are all wicked!”
There are so many examples that I can use but. As a Christian, I choose to use an example from Scripture and take a look at the deep self-centred heart of man and his disregard for even his own family; people he calls his own and people that he pretends to love and care for.
JEPHTHAH BECOMES ISRAEL’S JUDGE
Judges 11:1-8 (NLT)
- Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute. 2. Gilead’s wife also had several sons, and when these half-brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. “You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, “for you are the son of a prostitute.” 3. So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him. 4. At about this time, the Ammonites began their war against Israel. 5. When the Ammonites attacked, the elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah in the land of Tob. The elders said, 6. “Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!” 7. But Jephthah said to them, “Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?” 8. “Because we need you,” the elders replied. “If you lead us in the battle against the Ammonites, we will make you ruler over all the people of Gilead.” 9.Jephthah said to the elders, “Let me get this straight. If I come with you and if the Lord gives me victory over the Ammonites, will you really make me ruler over all the people?” 10. “The Lord is our witness,” the elders replied. “We promise to do whatever you say.” 11. So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him their ruler and commander of the army. At Mizpah, in the presence of the Lord, Jephthah repeated what he had said to the elders.
Let me ask you this? Does this story not grieve you in any way? Does this not make you think that there are some people who go through life without one iota of regard for others? What would you do if your family disposed of you or chased you away as if you were just a dog? (By the way, there are indeed such cases, especially within the Jehovah’s Witness sect). Actually, they probably had more regard for a dog than they had for you. Let your mind wander for a moment and think of all the people that have done this type of thing to you and the way it made you feel at the time, or maybe the way you still feel at this present time. I am sure that when you remember an incident or incidents like this; it may very well exhume feelings that fire up the neurones of your memory and leave you aghast and pain-stricken once again. For some of us here this might still be happening, whereas for others, you can remember the time and the hour of when something like this took place in your life and the bitter taste it is caused and maybe is still causing; churning up bile and reflux, burning away at your core and into your mouth.
Now, as bad as this is, the point is not about how we have been hurt, even though the parallel remains well intended. Nevertheless, let me ask you this: how often have you done this to God? How often have you used Him just for your convenience? Just in case; one thing to remember is that; God does not need you, but yet He wants you. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in: GOD DOES NOT NEED YOU BUT YET HE WANTS YOU! My challenge is that we realise that we “NEED TO WANT GOD” because there is a major difference between “WANTING TO NEED GOD”, and “NEEDING TO WANT GOD”!
YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART, WITH ALL OF YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL OF YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL OF YOUR STRENGTH! AND YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR – OTHERS – AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF!
With this in mind, and if one can embrace this command from God, then there is no more place for “CONVENIENCE” is there?
Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)