I was once on an advisory panel for an elected official. It was an unusual panel – we were all Christians of one sort or another, and we functioned as an accountability group. Our job was to meet, and talk, and pray, and be watchful for signs that the official was being captured by the political environment and forgetting the constituency back home. We met once a quarter, usually for breakfast.
As we ate our cereal and eggs, group member after group member began a lecture. They were furious. Gun control of all things!
I was sitting between an attorney and a well-known conservative activist and organizer. The attorney, like me, had been very quiet. And then it was his turn to speak. “My family and I go to bed at night, and we sometimes hear the gunshots not far away. Something has to change.”
You could have heard a pin drop.
Then it was my turn.
“A few months ago, “I said, “a shopkeeper was murdered in middle of the day in my suburb. Shot at point-blank range. Three minutes before she was killed, my son and a friend were directly across the street, trying to decide where to ride their bikes. They finally agreed on the nearby park, the same park where the killers ran after the shooting and where they were reprehended. This can’t continue.”
Lest you think our statements won the day and turned the tide, you should know that the conservative activist sitting next to me physically moved her chair away from me.
And yet – we were all Christians.
“Our woes began,” writes A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God, “when God was forced out of His central shrine and ‘things’ were allowed to enter.”
That central shrine? The human heart.
“The roots of our hearts,” he says, “have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended.”
Things can include wealth, pride, success, ambition and physical things like furniture, clothes, and things we collect. And even patriotism and the love of one’s country. One of the group members – a pastor – carried a Bible and a copy of the U.S. Constitution wherever he went. We all have the tendency to push God out of our hearts and replace Him with – things.
Like Tozer says, it was never intended to be that way. And thus our woes began.
Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’re discussing A.W. Tozer’s classic The Pursuit of God. To see what other people are writing about Chapter 2, “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing,” please visit Jason’s site, Connecting to Impact.