Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Our Need for an American Idol

Wednesday night is the big night. Millions upon millions of Americans will gather around their TVs to see first-hand who will be the next American Idol. Many of those watching dialed in on their cellphones the night before to vote for their chosen idol. The water cooler talk for months has been AI, and who should win, who should leave, what was Simon grumbling about, etc.

And while it's certainly a harmless singing competition, I think American Idol reveals something about us as a nation that isn't evident just on the surface. We're a people that loves to be a part of something. A people that needs something to look forward to, something to "idolize."

I'm certainly not suggesting anyone (in their right mind) will look at Blake Lewis or Jordin Sparks as a savior figure, or someone who will restore hope for all mankind. It's the mere title of the show that can be a tad disturbing to the naked eye. "American Idol". In other words, the person who is most important. The best. No one is better. Someone to look up to, to honor. Someone to, perhaps, fill the void in our lives.

This doesn't pertain to you? Let's step back for a minute, and look at our nation as a whole. Who or what is famous? President Bush? How many conversations have you had where someone would bend over backwards to support the president no matter what, simply because he's a Republican? How about Oprah? Because she's wealthy and is very charitable, does she get a little more acknowledgement from us? What about our things? Our car? Our bank account? Where is our trust? I think it sometimes is most evident by the scores of lottery tickets purchased. People will spend almost as much money as they make trying to win more than they'll ever earn in a lifetime, because the assumption is there that money is what helps us survive. Money makes us happy.

Too often we find ourselves scrambling for something to fill a void. Rich Mullins wrote in one of his many songs "Everyone says they want just one thing. What they really mean is they want just one thing more." Thought-provoking. Is he really suggesting we may already have what we need?

There's an incredible nugget of truth tucked away in 2 Corinthians. Chapter 12, verse 9 God tells Paul this: "My grace is sufficient for you." Sufficient? Grace? That's quite the implication there. Is He really saying grace is all we need? If so, then what are we chasing after?

What concerns me the most is the attitude Christians have about the world. We're chasing the same things non-believers are. We're trusting in that next paycheck, the job promotion, a new president, a well-known author's newest bestseller, a preacher's prophecy, a future husband or wife, a nicer house or wardrobe, a more attractive body. But God suggests we don't need any of that. His grace is sufficient. His grace, proved by the cross, covers everything. The other things are nice, and God does bless us with some of those things, but if we have grace, we have enough. Our cup is full.

I could write for hours about grace; about its incomprehensibility and beauty, its sufficiency and invincibility, its loving nature born from its Creator. How God gives it so graciously to those who least deserve it. How its often overlooked even by its owners. And how its been given the backseat to our fleshly desires and priorities.

No writing could really do it justice. Just know this, that it is enough. No question. There is nothing more that you'll need, for the grace of God has saved you from the very things that were killing you. And that's something no American Idol will ever be able to do.

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