What would you do if you had a white elephant? I guess you could try to sell it to the zoo, or maybe you could put it on eBay. Many years ago, the kings of Siam gave white elephants as lavish gifts to people. But they had an ulterior motive, for they intended nothing less than the recipient’s financial ruin. Because white elephants were considered sacred and laws had been passed which restricted them from any labor, they were like vacuums which sucked up their owners’ livelihood. This is where we derived the term “white elephant gift”.
Christians must be aware of white elephants of worldliness present in their lives. Like a white elephant, worldliness drains believers of their joy, peace, and fellowship with the Lord—everything they have—and makes them spiritual paupers. John Wesley defined it this way: “Worldliness is anything that cools my love for Christ.” Sadly, worldliness has seen resurgence in Christendom. One survey found these figures:
- 5% of church members do not exist.
- 10% cannot be found.
- 20% never pray.
- 60% do not attend Sunday evening services.
- 75% do not get involved in church activities.
- 90% never have family discussions about spiritual matters.
- 95% have never won someone to Christ.
The only way to reverse this trend is to get serious about the exhortation found in today’s Scripture passage: We need to quit conforming to the world and allow our minds to be transformed by the Lord. Transformation comes when we renew our minds daily with the things of God.
God does care if we are worldly. We will never influence the world for Christ if He is not influencing us. His holiness should set the boundaries for our social ties with others, as well as our private entertainment choices. His love ought to govern the way we treat others. And His commendation must be the motivation for our service. Let us rid ourselves of the white elephants in our lives today.
Love not the world, for it is a moth in a Christian’s life. — John Bunyan
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.