Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014


By Jim Jordal

You may remember this story, since I’ve used it before. The old Cherokee chief was discussing the never-ending struggle between human good and evil with his much-loved grandson. He said, "It’s like this. There are two wolves struggling within you for dominance. One is good; he is love, hope, mercy, kindness and all the other good things we can experience. The other is evil; he is hatred, jealousy, cruelty, fear and all other bad things." The little boy thought for a while, and then asked, "But, grandfather, which wolf wins?" The old man slowly replied, "Grandson, the one you feed wins."

So, what wolf have you been feeding this Christmas season? One doesn’t have any difficulty deciding which wolf the TV commercials and printed advertisements are feeding---they’re feeding the greedy, smiling, never-enough wolf of mammon. The purveyors of greed tell us that ever-rising Christmas sales are good for us, and I guess that’s true if you believe only in an economy celebrating growth, bigness, money and power.

Scripture tells us, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life---is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lusts of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:15-17, NKJV).

God’s commands against loving the world don’t refer to the natural world and our love and appreciation for creation. They refer to the world created by humans and their desire to gain more wealth and power through dominating, oppressing, and misleading everyone not able to distinguish the damaging illusions behind their endless blandishments. We are to love and protect God’s world and creatures, but we are to reject and oppose man’s world of manipulation, lies, and domination of everything that is good and wholesome in life.

When we pay more attention to consuming and getting "things" than to God, we feed the wrong wolf. When we indulge ourselves with too much "Christmas Cheer" to celebrate, we feed the wrong wolf. When we encourage others, including our children, in this mad world of shopping in the middle of the night and buying things we don't need and can't afford, we feed the wrong wolf. When we’re lured to leave our families for shopping on Thanksgiving Day, we feed the wrong wolf.

So what about the other wolf---the good one? Unfortunately, the good wolf seems ignored as the attention of society focuses on consuming and alcohol-fueled partying. The good wolf gets lost in the furor surrounding Christmas. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can decide to do differently. We can minimize the Christmas craze simply by refusing to participate at our previous levels. We can de-escalate from frantic shopping into increased family time. We can contribute money to various charities serving the hungry and needy. We can volunteer to work at a community dinner or toy collection. And if we can’t physically or financially afford to directly help the unfortunate, we can still pray and give increased attention to what God is doing in this world. All this feeds the good wolf, that will grow with a little attention into something that can change our lives for the better.

If all the greed, glitz and glitter of Christmas offends you, then you’re will on the way toward needed change. Perhaps you can’t change society, but you can change yourself. So give it a try, you will like it.