Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Acts 14:13-15 -- On Giving God the Credit

"Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:"
Acts 14:13-15

This is part of a story about Paul and Barnabas healing a man who had never been able to walk.  I think that even now, if doctors could heal a man who had never walked, he would need some therapy and help before he was able to walk... but here, with God's healing, the man leaps and walks immediately.  When the people see it, they decide Paul and Barnabas must be gods... specifically Jupiter and Mercury, and they call them by those names and (as shown in these verses) bring some oxen down to sacrifice to them.  Obviously, this wasn't the result they had intended, and they quickly go out and work to convince the people not to sacrifice to them.  They tell the people that they are just men, with the same passions, but that there is something better, and that is God.
By saying that they had the same passions, they are basically saying that they have faults.  They are mortal.  And I think that is a very hard things for us to admit sometimes.  We want people to like us... maybe we wouldn't even mind if they worshipped us.  We like the attention.  But what Paul and Barnabas did here is telling, and something that we can emulate in our lives.  For example, just the other day a girl at work asked me how I had dealt with something extremely difficult.  The answer was, perhaps obviously, prayer.  But it was very hard for me to *say* that.  I'm sure it was partly that I didn't want her to mock the idea of prayer.  But there was also a part of me that wanted to take credit... that wanted her to think of me as strong and resilient and amazing. :)  ... But, just like it would have been a mistake for Paul and Barnabas to allow the people of Lystra to sacrifice to them, it is a mistake for us to take credit for God... not only because we're setting ourselves up in his place, but because others deserve to know how they can get similar results in their lives. :)
Today, let's remember to not try to look perfect.  We have faults.  It is okay for other people to know that... it might help us all work together to overcome them.  And let's also remember to give God the credit for the amazing things that he does in our lives each day.  For the forgiveness, the grace, the peace, the inspiration, the ideas, the comfort... the ability to leap and walk, and all the rest. :)  He is the one that is perfect... but he helps us all, even in our imperfection, as we strive to become more like him.  Instead of keeping that amazing bounty to ourselves, let's introduce others to him, and let them know the source of our strength.

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