The calender on my phone is always being updated.
Birthdays are constantly being added in so I don’t miss anyone. Anniversaries, other dates that are significant to me are marked and labeled so that I don’t forget. Events are starred so I make enough time to get everything done.
When I was a pastor, I always had my topics or Scripture passages picked out and written down on my desk calendar, sometimes a month in advance. I liked knowing what was coming up, what was going to happen next.
I enjoyed constructing my week so I had work time, play time, rest time, what time I needed to see that nothing was left undone.
What makes it even better is that I’m not alone in this, my wife is a planner too.
She has her own set of calenders to keep things straight and organized. And because of her job at a bank, the idea of planning and organization is enforced even more. Appointments, deadlines, cut offs, all kinds of different bank stuff that fills up her day. Sometimes it can be chaotic, but having a level of planning and organization helps keep her sane.
Chances are that you also have a full calender, whether on your phone or on the wall, or both. The demand to have things in an orderly fashion is everywhere, not just for bankers and pastors.
Now I will be the first to say that organization is a good thing. There is nothing inherently wrong with keeping the chaos down and bringing the order up in this world. There is no sin in having a set time for this customer, or a certain period of the day dedicated to this activity or that. Doing this keeps the stress levels down and promotes a sense of professionalism.
But in saying all that, there is a potential dark side to all this planning, organizing and making order out of the chaos.
There is a lurking sin within the nature of the schedules and calenders, something that Christians need to be aware of.
Lurking in the shadows of planning and organization is the sin of idolatry.
Most times we talk about idolatry, we are talking about people having an idol that they are worshiping rather than God.
In the days of the Bible, Israel would make a statue of what they thought God looked like and they would worship that, even though He gave strict instructions not to. That was idolatry.
They also would abandon their relationship with God and serve other gods, like Baal or Asher. These gods often had statues or idols made in their image that were used for worship. Against this God also gave strict ruling to avoid, for this too was idolatry.
For most of us, we do not worship a statue in our homes. Chances are that we do not know who or what Baal and Asher looked like, so the chances of us idol worshiping them is slim to none.
But for the modern Christian, any one that has listened to a sermon on the Ten Commandments, you know that we are not innocent of breaking these idol worship related commandments. Rather than stone images or statues of gods, we worship other things.
We worship the all mighty dollar, giving it all our time and energy. We worship the god of fitness, spending hours at the gym or hour counting our calories so that our physical appearance will be that of a scalped god or goddess. We worship the power and authority, not God’s power and authority, but the idea of power and authority. We throw ourselves at anything we have so that we may taste its sweetness. We worship our televisions, our computers, so many different technological wonders for they make us feel significant and unique.
All of these things, and more than I care to list, are things that we worship, things we hold as idols, as god rather than God.
Planning or organization can lead us to idolatry as well.
You may not think so at first, but it can. For this idolatry lurks just below the surface.
Like I said before, it is not a sin to plan or to schedule how your day will go, there is something there that is sin; the illusion that you are in control of what happens.
Has this ever happened to you?
You have made plans with someone, maybe going out to a movie or dinner one evening. Other events, dinners, coffee appointments come up and you schedule around that initial evening plan. Everything is going well. You have everything under control and then it happens.
Those plans, that movie date, that evening dinner gets canceled. Or worse, they have to change the date or time of the engagement.
Now, this is just a part of life. Plans change, things get a little chaotic. But this is where the sin that is lurking in the shadows creeps in.
While we can roll with the punches, try to make things work, sometimes we tend to kick back, freak out and get very upset.
I have had this happen to me before and I have said things like this when it happened.
“Who do they think they are, just changing plans and expecting me to change my schedule for them?’
“No, they can not do that to me. I will not let them change the plans that I already have.”
“That was rude of them to think I would just drop everything to make things work out for them.”
At the center of all those things that I said, is me.
My schedule, my plans, my time that they were wasting by changing things.
I was in control. I had it all set up. I had it worked out so that everything was timed.
I. Me. Myself.
Probably the one of the greatest idols that humanity worships is themselves. I. Me. Myself.
Too often we think that we have it all figured out. We assume that we are in control. We have things mapped out and that is the way that they are supposed to be. We are the masters and commanders of what is going on in the world, that we can steer the ship of our destinies. Or maybe on a smaller scale, our schedules and what is and is not on our calenders.
The issue is that we are not that powerful, we do not have that kind of control. And when we think that we do, we diminish the power of God and His plans.
The problem is we are trying to take the place of God ourselves, put ourselves on the pedestal or throne of God. We make ourselves the idol that God tells us we should not worship.
Again, I am not saying that this is the case with all Christians that plan or are organized. But there is that lurking sin to take control, to assume that we have everything figured out and it would be wrong for things to go any other way.
What if God wanted our calender to get a little messed up to teach us something? What if God was rearranging things to use us to show someone His love and compassion?
These thoughts have left me wondering what I have missed out on, what I have deprived others of.
This idea that there is a sin lurking behind a very fine and mature thing like planning or organization reminds me that I always need to be on my guard. Always mindful that my actions have a spiritual implication, and could lead me to sin or away from sin.
Let this be a warning, or a wake up call to all of us.
Because there is a lurking sin in planning and it wants to get you.