The Ultimate Thing

By Lucy Wache Oyier

Idolatry happens when we take good things and make them the ultimate things. ~ Timothy Keller

I’m nocturnal. My darling husband is the opposite. It is in the morning that he gets inspiration. It is in the morning that he wants to connect.

It is in the morning that he comes alive and gets inspired to share with his dear wife (who is half asleep, by the way) his deep thoughts on the economy, global politics, history, strategy, crisis management, faith. You name it.

Most times I’m tempted to say, “Can we talk about this another time?” Other times I have actually voiced these thoughts. But on the days I decide to beat the body just so I can genuinely and actively connect with my sweetheart, I have been thoroughly amazed. The insights, the ideas, the knowledge, the depth from this gentleman. Priceless.  He’s a thinker. My husband. A visionary.

So this particular morning his opening phrase was, “Making a good thing the ultimate thing”. As usual, I was tempted to keep quiet or pull the covers and turn the other way, hoping that he’ll get the hint that I’m still on dreamland. But then I was convicted and I sleepily responded… “Mmh?”

He repeated his opening phrase and went on to share his reflections on a sermon he had recently listened to, and how that sermon makes so much sense especially now in our current COVID-19 reality. He said that in life, there are many things that we like, we desire and chase after. Good things.

This is the problem. When we make a good thing the Ultimate Thing.

The thing that our lives revolve around.

The thing we want with all our heart.

The thing we protect with all our being.

The thing we adore above all else.

The thing that defines us.

So, my husband and I started reflecting on the many things we can, without knowing, idolize and make the ultimate thing, (which, by the way, is a form of idol worship).

Wealth is a good thing, but when we make wealth and the pursuit of it the ultimate thing, and put our entire trust in it, what happens when we lose it all? Life does throw blows, and as we can now see, COVID-19 is literally bringing economies to their knees. Those who were trusting their wealth to afford them the best treatment abroad, are now, with the lock-downs, at the mercy of the Kenyan health system. Which no one cared to equip.

Keeping fit is a good thing, but when we make that the ultimate thing, if we idolize having that perfect body? When we lose it, say through a car crash, then our very being crashes with it. You become worthless in your own eyes.

Having children is a good thing but when we make that the ultimate thing, we will parent through our children’s eyes. Forever seeking their approval, putting our lives on hold for them and then holding on to them, even when it’s time for them to move on with their lives. When they finally leave, then our lives become empty. Meaningless. We let our children define us. We made them the ultimate thing. 

Having a spouse is a good thing but the reality is that one day, one of you will see the other in a coffin, if the Lord tarries. When we make our spouse the ultimate thing, the hard truth is that their lifeless body will not save us.

Only Jesus can.

Taking precautionary measures against COVID-19 is a good thing. Spending resources in finding a vaccine is a good thing. But human beings are limited, science is limited. But we can’t make these good things the ultimate thing. Because when we come to the end of our road, having tried all we could afford, the best of doctors can’t save us.

Only Jesus can.

So my prayer is that more than anything, we will on Christ the solid rock stand. Because, all the other ground is surely sinking sand.

Now that all has been heard, here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:13

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

Lucy Wache Oyier is a Poet, Director and Actress. She loves Theater, Film and everything Performing Arts. Above all, she loves God. 

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