14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” (Acts 14:14–15)
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” It is pretty exciting when the Lord begins to use you. Even more tempting when people begin praise you instead of the Lord. He alone is the One, True God deserving the credit and our worship.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine. He spoke of several pastors he knew of who were pastoring mega-churches within the United States. Tens of thousands of people are in their congregations. He shared about the great, and large, work they were doing. Apparently, a great work for God must always be a large work for God. How typically American.
In the conversation, the emphasis was not placed upon the Lord working through these pastors, but rather the work the pastors were doing, apparently independent of God. It seemed to me that my friend was unconsciously saying that these men were some of the special and select few that have all the answers to all the questions by all the people. That is why they are leading such large churches.
The people of Lystra were ready, willing and able to praise Paul and Barnabas as gods. It is interesting to note that from today’s text, Paul and Barnabas were having nothing to do with it. They would not receive worship. They tore their garments, which was a cultural and conventional sign of great grief and distress (Mark 14:63).
They then rushed out into the crowd continuously screaming and shouting “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.”
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Paul and Barnabas at first do not understand what the Lystrans are saying. But when they learn the people’s intent, they are aghast, for they know that only God is to be worshipped. So they hasten to set the record straight: they are not gods but mere men who are messengers from the true God.”
No matter how small, or large, the church you are a member is, no matter how gifted your pastor may be in heralding the truth of God’s Word, and no matter how many ministries and programs your church has, ultimately we are but messengers of the One, True God for which He and He alone deserves all the glory and all our worship.
Let us resolve to no longer elevate Christian leaders to a prominent place bordering on worship. Let us resolve to worship the One, True God alone.
Soli deo Gloria!