Summary: The Holy Spirit gives us everything we need in order to serve God and God’s creation. But, it is our responsibility to use those gifts for the glory of God.
No Pet Rock 5-27-07
As a society, we Americans are often sucked in by fads—some item or some activity that seems to capture all of our attention for a short time but, when the luster and excitement wear off, we forget about them and then we move on to the next fad. Every generation has their own fads but I can only relate to the ones that took place during my lifetime. For instance, one of the biggest fads in the last few years has been Texas Hold ‘Em poker. It seems like everyone is playing this game everywhere you turn. Some cable channels even show some of the professional or celebrity Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments on television. How long will it last? I don’t know— probably just until the next fad comes along. Another one of the more recent fads I wish would go away quickly is reality shows. I guess it’s just me but I can’t understand the appeal. But, they’re cheap to make and as long as people keep watching, studios will keep churning them out. The 90s had its share of fads. Remember the Budweiser “wassup” commercials. Boy, did those get old really fast. And who could ever forget the Macarena. In the 80s, there were fads like hacky-sack and “baby on board” signs for our cars. I guess those are still around in some form. The 70s too— soon after “Smokey and the Bandit” came out it seemed like every other car on the road was a black Trans Am. Another fad from the 70s was streaking. I guess that’s still around too but now it’s called performance art. But, probably the most memorable fad that I can remember, from any decade, was the Pet Rock. Never in the history of American society has such an absurd idea captured the imagination, and the dollars, of the buying public. For those of you too young to remember, in 1975 a man named Gary Dahl came up with the idea to take a small, smooth rock, place it in a box with some straw, poke some air holes in the box so the rock could “breathe,” and sell it for 10 bucks. As crazy as it sounds, he sold millions of these things. And, even though the fad lasted for only about three months, Dahl laughed all the way to the bank.
The thing about fads is that they usually come in with a bang and then fade off into oblivion— or, at the very least, they loose their mass appeal. We often get really excited about them when they first explode on to the scene and we think that this feeling will last forever. But, as happens with all fads, we eventually get bored with them— we stop participating in the activity or the item winds up in a box in a forgotten corner of a closet. And, you know, that’s what happens a lot of the time in the church. I’ve seen it happen to new Christians and people who have been in the church for years. Something new and exciting begins to happen in the church, a new program or a new opportunity to serve, and we become really jazzed about doing the work of God and getting out into the world and sharing our faith so that others will be open to God’s presence in their lives too. But, after a while, that feeling, that energy starts to wear off. We become complacent. We begin to spend more and more of our energies on the things of this world rather than on serving God and, soon enough, we stop serving altogether. And, we often become Christians in name only. It is a real danger for all of us. But, God gave us a way to combat complacency— to reenergize ourselves for service to him.