Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Safeguard to Success

When Paul was in a place called Lystra he commanded a crippled man to stand to his feet, and immediately the man was healed (Acts 14:8-10). That’s quite extraordinary. Without months of physical therapy to get his atrophied muscles strong again, this man simply started walking. Sometimes this is how God works - you just “walk into it” almost unexpectedly.

Next we read, “When the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying…. ‘The gods have come down to us’… and when the apostles heard this they “tore their clothes…. crying out…. Why are you doing this? We also are men” (Acts 14:11-15). Here we go again! We want to elevate men higher than they are entitled. Somebody that no one has ever heard of hits the high note, and the next thing you know they get a record deal and become an overnight star – our American Idol. Lord help us, it happens in the church too. Preachers, singers, and toe-tapping quartets crave the crowds, and the people love to have it so.

Paul and Barnabas didn’t go out and buy a new wardrobe (er, stage costume) to reflect their new image…. and they didn’t hire a publicity agent either! No, they tore their clothes and cried, “We are men just like you.”

BTW, the crowds that worshipped Paul that day were the same kind of crowds that later stoned him. That’s how quickly hero worship can fade.

Bottom line: be humble, love people, but trust only in God.

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