Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 18: Year 2
“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.” (Acts 14: 14 and 15)
In today’s John Reading, as well as this Acts passage above, people witnessing God’s work are misreading what they see. In the Gospel of John people are upset because they say that since Jesus is only a human being, how can he say that he is God (John 10:33). The truth is, Jesus is not only human. Jesus is both human and God. In the Acts passage, people see what Paul and Barnabas are doing and want to worship them as gods. However, they both truly are human only. In both cases the people who see what God is doing want to focus on the instrument of God rather than God. They forget that it is God who is at work.
The same is true today. God works through us to do the will of God. But God mostly works through people of faith to do this work. Miracles still happen! People are miraculously healed. People miss having accidents through no foresight of their own. Such events are not coincidental. They are the will of God. I have seen where God also works through people of little or no faith for the benefit of a community. In such cases the people used by God are unaware of God using them.
Our experiences are all about what God is doing. If we don’t like what God is doing, or think the person who God is working through is undeserving, as in the John passage, we should calm down and ponder the greater benefit to our community. If we really like what we see God doing in someone, a doctor or teacher or pastor, or anyone, we need to realize that in most cases, such a person has allowed themselves to be used by God through faith. Or, God has decided that our need can’t wait for faith and the benefit needs to happen regardless. If we want to honor a person for some good deed, we should honor their obedience to God’s call on his or her life and their willingness to obey.
God is good, all the time. And God is at work, all the time. The only thing that God wants in order to help us is our faith. If we believe in God and submit to the will of God, God’s will, will be done. God uses us, to fix us. All we have to do is be faithful, user friendly, and thankful.
Please remember to keep Ukraine and Ethiopia in your prayers, both are in real need.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John