It’s easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to our thoughts about God. For too many, maybe all of us, we sometimes think of him as a means to an end. We want him to bless us, protect us and keep us from trials and sufferings. This is only normal as we’re human. But as my pastor friend from Florida Steve Schantz said in a sermon, God is not a commodity:
“… faith becomes a magic wand you wave over your life to get the one thing you most want from the Lord. And God now becomes a means to an end…. Can you imagine treating God as a means to something greater? King David couldn’t. But God is perceived to be very useful and very practical in our day and age. This utilitarian thinking is warping the image of the Triune God. The prosperity gospel has come home to roost in churches of all stripes and sizes across our land. Even our secular poets and authors know the power and necessity of experiencing beauty. D.H. Lawrence once wrote, ‘The Human Soul needs beauty even more than it needs bread’ (Nottingham and the Mining Country, 1929).” As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, the beauty of God surpasses everything we can begin to imagine and nothing we desire in this life comes close.
Seeing God from a utilitarian viewpoint can lead us to want to use him rather than being in awe of the beauty of his character and personality. But God will not be used – how could we mere humans think we could use the creator of everything? Conversely, God doesn’t use us, though many like to believe he does. People use people, God doesn’t. The life he has given us is participation in Christ’s life. He doesn’t use us for his purposes as if we are minions, rather he loves us as a father.
Nothing is more beautiful than the intimate, loving, sharing relationship we get to share with Father, Son and Spirit. Nothing.