January 5, 2014

eaten alive

In the book, Encounters with Jesus by Timothy Keller, there is a great quote concerning our propensity to worship things. The quote comes from a commencement speech given at Kenyon College by an American writer named David Foster Wallace.
Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god ... to worship ... is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before [your loved ones] finally plant you ... Worship power, and you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they are all evil or sinful; it is that they're unconscious. They are default settings.
These are powerful words, and some of those descriptions really hit home. Tim Keller goes on to say this after Wallace's quote:
Wallace was by no means a religious person, but he understood that everyone worships, everyone trusts in something for their salvation, everyone bases their lives on something that requires faith. A couple of years after giving that speech, Wallace killed himself. And this nonreligious man's parting words to us are pretty terrifying: "Something will eat you alive." Because even though you might never call it worship, you can be absolutely sure you are worshiping and you are seeking. And Jesus says, "Unless you are worshiping me, unless I'm the center of your life, unless you're trying to get your spiritual thirst quenched through me and not through these other things, unless you see that the solution must come inside rather than just pass by outside, then whatever you worship will abandon you in the end."
This is true. Forsake whatever else you are worshiping and turn your worship to the only one who deserves it.