Reading: Acts 17: 29-31
Verse 29: We should not think the divine being is an image…
Paul tackles the prevalent religion of the local people in today’s passage: polytheism. For many, many years the Athenians have worshipped many different gods. Each god was limited, confined basically to its own area of expertise. Paul takes the local faith head on when he states that we are God’s offspring. His logic is that if we are created by God, then we should only worship the one true God and not any creation of our human hands. For Paul, God is limitless. All is under God’s control as God was and is the creator of all things. This is in striking contrast to the popular stance on many gods held be the Athenians. Paul goes on to proclaim God’s judgment on them and to call them to repentance.
On the surface level it is hard to imagine worshipping a god for this and another god for that and yet another god for this need or concern. On the surface level, it runs so counter to basic understanding of God. Yet if we delve in a little deeper, if we look a little more intently into the mirror, we realize that we too are more like the Athenians than we’d like to admit. We shy away from calling them ‘gods’ but at times w definitely have lots of idols. We might recoil at the idea of worshipping money or possessions or status or beauty, but when we get honest and get right down to it, anything we place above or before God becomes an idol we worship.
Like Paul called the Athenians, his words call us to repentance as well. What are the things we chase after, the idols we worship? Verse 31 reads, “for He has set a day…”. Judgment will come. Paul reminds us that God calls us to repent. This day, may we look deep within, repent of all that draws our love away from God, and begin to live the lives we are called to – lives that love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.