In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them. ~ Acts 14:8-18
Who is it easier to trust? Yourself or an unseen being that we call God?
A human who works magic that seem miraculous, or the great ground of all being that causes the human to work miracles?
I grew up in Texas - the heart of televangelist land. I remember always being struck by the accolades thrown at them for their teachings and "miracles."
How different Paul and Barnabas are here. They take no credit for themselves.
They deflect accolades and call for their own greatness.
They point simply to the one true God.
I have to admit that in my actions, I can't always claim to do that.
We live in a polarizing time, and in a polarizing time it is maybe even more tempting to take any praise or credit when we can get it. I see so many negative words thrown around in social media and on television news, that when a word of praise comes my way, I often want to cling to it.
Yet Paul and Barnabas show another way - during their own polarizing time. A way that points not to their own gifts and power, but to a power beyond them.
And ironically, in pointing beyond themselves, they do nothing to diminish their own gifts or calling.
Their own connection to the divine.
Their own connection to truth and life.
Lord let me point to you always! Amen