Scripture: Acts 14:1-18
Key verse: (15) “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.”
Reflection: We are mortals just like you! Anytime we are tempted to treat another human being as anything other than mortal we are in trouble! Paul and his ministry companion Barnabas were preaching the gospel in various locations in Pamphylia and Pisidia (areas north of the Mediterranean Sea). A crippled man listened to Paul preach in Lystra and Paul told him to stand up and walk. He sprang up and began to walk. Then the crowds began to shout that Paul and Barnabas were gods in human form. They prepared to worship Paul and Barnabas by making animal sacrifices to them. Paul and Barnabas stopped that with their admission “We are mortals just like you!”
In seminary I was friends with a wonderfully gifted man. He was a great preacher, an inspiring teacher and a creative youth worker. But in one way he was a fake. He was afraid for church members to really know him and so he put a lot of effort into acting the part he thought a minister should act. His gifts for ministry were genuine but he was exhausted because he wouldn’t let himself be seen as mortal. He didn’t last in ministry and I am sad.
We are mortals just like you. True for teachers when you bump into them in the grocery store (remember how weird that was as a kid?), true for elected officials at every level, true for celebrities, true for CEOs, and true for pastors. We are all human. No more (no we aren’t gods) and no less (we are created in God’s image and we are loved by God). We are all mortals and that is good news.
Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me when I treat anyone as more than human, when I allow my admiration for a person to become a stumbling block for my faithfulness, when I expect more than a human can do or give. Remind me of my mortality, of my human gifts and of my limits. Open my eyes to see your image in every mortal around me and to give thanks. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].