Think about how powerful this one little verse is. They praised God because of me. Paul was referring to how his life had been before and the difference that the Gospel had made in his life. He was such a new creation that when people saw him they couldn’t believe it. They knew it was the work of God. So when they saw Paul live his life, the response was that they praised God because of him. How about us? If someone was to base their opinion of God by what they see in us would they praise God because of us or curse Him because of us, or perhaps be indifferent to God because they see that in us.
24 And they praised God because of me.
A woman has a dream where she wanders into a shop at the mall and finds Jesus behind a counter. Jesus says, “You can have anything your heart desires.”
Astounded but pleased, she asks for peace, joy, happiness, wisdom, and freedom from fear. Then she adds, “Not just for me, but for the whole earth.”
Jesus smiles and says, “I think you misunderstand me. We don’t sell fruits, only seeds.”
1 Corinthians 3:6-9
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Politics brings out the worst in people. I was thinking this as I was seeing my Facebook feed and folks who I love dearly within the body of Christ are posting such hateful and awful things about folks (I guess we forget that whole Golden Rule thing that Jesus said when it comes to sports and politics). As the feeds come through, I begin to think if there is anyone that is still nice and kind to other folks? How did we get to the point where we feel comfortable calling other people names (I thought giving folks hurtful nicknames only happened on the playground), harassing people when they are in restaurants with their families, and even going so far that we are promoting violence to those we disagree with? I watch the News, I see the Facebook feeds and I sympathize with the Psalmist. “Help, Lord, for the godly are no more.”
Then I have to remember that there are still good people out there. So often we tend to only focus on the negatives (and there are plenty of negative people and they tend to be very loud) but instead I want to see the good people around me. So here in this awful political environment (and yes…I do see what you post on Facebook and it is not very nice! Oh…and need I remind you that Jesus sees it also. Tsk,tsk!) this is what I want us all to do. Take a deep breath, say a prayer for the people who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum (“kill ‘em, Lord” is NOT an acceptable prayer!). Then I want you to take a break, and go speak to your kids, spouse, neighbor, parents, maybe even your pastor, and remind yourself that there are still good and decent people out there. You are not alone.
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Not everything is equal. If I go to the store and I pick up a $4 mug and smash it to the ground, I may get in trouble, but no one is calling for my head. But let’s say that I go to that same store and pick up a $50,000 ancient artifact (hey! Walmart is very diverse in what they now sell….), I would have people wanting me to do a life of hard labor after being tarred and feathered. Why? Because one was worth something, but the other was of the utmost value.
Here in our text, God demands that anyone who sheds the blood of a human (whether that is an animal or a man) should have their own blood shed. Now, let’s put on hold how this looks in the justice system (another discussion for another day) and let’s focus on why this is.
Why demand such a high price? The answer is simple. Human Life is sacred. Your life is sacred! You are made in the image of God, and that means that within all of creation you stand out as the unique image bearer of the Creator! Remember that today. You are (although broken and marred) an image bearer of the Creator of Creation.
But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
6 “Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made mankind.