Don’t let it go to your head
When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they cried out in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in human form.” They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes,” because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.
I have had more than one ministry assignment where I had experiences that I could never have imagined ever having. I know famous people that I would never have imagined meeting. And one thing I very much needed to make sure I was attentive to was making sure that none of these circumstances go to my head.
But this is not only a challenge we can have because of a job we have, it is a danger in the Christian life. We can think that the success we have is because of our efforts, when in fact, all we do and all we can accomplish are about God’s grace.
Paul and Barnabas are aware of this danger. Men, why are you doing this? We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We are not gods. We are not better. We, like you, need to be saved from our sins just like you.
When people have different roles in the Church, there can be a danger that rather than seeing the grace of God being responsible for the call, we can see ourselves in a better or even privileged. way. We know the gospel warns us about such things.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. Salvation only becomes possible when we are more like Paul and Barnabas. Recognizing that we always stand in need of God’s grace, and without God, we can do nothing.
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