The dot com bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s led to some crazy ideas that failed and cost people a lot of money. People got these ideas into their heads and they made pitches to people with money who, saw nothing but dollar signs. Perhaps one of the most interesting failures was a site called Kibu dot com. After a lavish launch party for this site aimed at adolescent girls, Kibu shut their virtual doors 46 days later. As companies with good ideas and business plans succeeded during those times, half-baked ideas with no plans followed behind and people eager for the instant wealth a dot com offered made foolish, futile investments.
It’s easy to jump on a bandwagon. Everyone is doing something and it seems either like a good thing to do in general or like something you must do to stay with the crowd. Mindsets change. Good sense goes out the window. Mob mentality rules. It’s not only bad when it comes to investing; it’s really bad when it comes to how we live our lives. One area where this plays an important part is our relationship with God. Paul talked about people who slipped into a mindset that opposed God. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21)
Paul was dealing with a Roman populace that acknowledged the existence of Supreme Beings. Some of the gods in their pantheon were a little bit strange. Many that were celebrated probably owed their popularity more to the emphasis of their godhood rather than real belief. Bacchus might be such a god who was followed for the fun, not because of belief. Somehow in this playing at believing in gods, the Romans strayed from the point where they could truly believe. Paul describes a dark situation where in their hearts they knew God existed, but they have completely photoshopped Him out of the picture based on their lives. Instead they turned to pagan idols which they knew had no power, and yet worshiped them anyway. They went through the motions. The inoculated themselves against God and continued a downward moral and ethical spiral that hurt them and the nation.
Sadder still is when churches fall into this trap. A cause seems like a good cause. Surely God would support this cause, wouldn’t He? The church throws itself behind that cause and soon, all pretense of following the God of the Bible falls away. The name of God is used for justification, but the thinking is futile, the cause becomes the god. The solution, while simple, is not easy. The solution is to make sure that we keep our thinking alive and vibrant by reading and studying God’s word. God’s word is the objective base for our faith. If something is contrary to God’s word, we shouldn’t be involved. If God directs us to do something, we should. Like I said, simple in concept but hard in practice. I don’t always live that concept like I should. There’s a simple way to gauge whether our thinking has become foolish: does the cause become more important than the teachings of God’s word. I haven’t named causes because the possibilities are endless. Even causes that are good can overshadow our commitment to God and in our futile, darkened thinking, we don’t realize we’ve fallen into a trap where we place the cause ahead of God and our thinking becomes foolish. Stay true to God’s word.
Oh Lord, there are so many good causes to fight for in our world today. There are people hurting who need help; there are injustices happening that need to be righted. Yet it’s too easy for me to get lost in the cause and be pulled away from You. Remind me to keep You in the forefront of all I do. Use me in Your great cause of grace and mercy.