Do you remember the TV show “Captain Planet”? I sure do. This show came on right after I woke up every weekday morning. It was the show I watched after I had gotten ready for school and I waited to go out to the bus stop. If you have never seen this show, I invite you to grab a DVD (or VHS) of the various episodes from your local library. The premise of the show centered around a group of friends who were each given a magical ring by Mother Earth (Gaia) that had a certain unique power. The rings had the power of wind, water, fire, earth, and heart (or love). The kids who possessed these rings had the ability to battle against enemies who desired to destroy the world through pollution. When these powers were combined, they created a powerful nature-conscience superhero called “Captain Planet”. As kids, we knew that this show was really a commercial for “living green”, but whatever the agenda of the show, it was definitely entertaining.
In this show, the most powerful foe that Captain Planet faced was the supervillian “Captain Pollution”. This villian was created through the combination of powers from evil rings called the “rings of pollution” that were created to be the antitheses of the good rings possessed by these children mentioned above. The powers included smog, toxins, radiation, deforestation, and hate. Got it? Ok…I am done with your nerdy superhero history lesson…let’s move on.
Besides the obvious themes of recycling and protecting nature, I think this show can give us an illustration of the way, I believe, humanity tends to lean in regards to the gifts God has given us. Our gracious Heavenly Father has gifted us with so many great things in life, and for some reason, we have tendency to distort them to their antithesis. Those things that were intended for good; humanity has always found a way to pervert.
When we look at things like sex, stewardship, love, loyalty, joy, and even worship, for example, we can see the “rings of pollution” that were created by us in response. These responses, such as immorality, greed, selfishness, control, worry, and legalism, were all created when God had been abandoned out of insecurity. Think about it, even death was created from our disobedience and rejection of life.
In the Old Testament, when Moses went up on Mt. Sinai to speak with God, the people who were left at the base of the mountain, were encouraged to worship and trust in God while they waited for their leader to return. By the time Moses had returned they already had fashioned a golden idol to worship. Their insecurity drove them to the antithesis of what they were called to do. They had taken the golden gifts they were given and melted them down to create something they could control, but nothing that could help them.
Christians are not exempt from this concept. I know, for me, there have been many times in which I have felt as if God were far away. When I have reflected on these instances, I have found that a large reason why I felt this way was because, at some point, I began to rely on my own resources or power to get me through a situation. With great intentions, I fashioned an idol that looked strikingly similar to my own reflection. Worship became about me.
I think we need to repent. We need to repent of the gifts that we have “melted down” for the purpose of turning them into idols. The gifts that God gives are always God. Keep God at the center and we can access His power through the gratitude we give Him for these gifts.
Operate out of love and trust today.