Never Alone

Somedays You’re the Pigeon 

Acts 28:1-6

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10)

The crew and passengers of the Roman Cruise Lines had been battered by rough seas for many days. The Alexandrian ship was guarded by the figurehead of Castor and Pollux, the twin sons of Zeus. But these false gods were no match for the true Master of the winds and the seas. The ship broke up on the rocks off of the small island of Malta.

All passengers survived the shipwreck and made their way to shore, cold and wet. Upon arrival they enjoyed the hospitality of the island’s pagan residents. They lit a fire and invited the crew into shelter. Like any good guest, Paul pitched in by gathering wood for the fire. And then it happened – as he reached into the woodpile, a viper latched onto his hand!

Here’s where the fickle nature of human opinion comes in. The Island residents saw the viper strike Paul and assumed that Justice, a Greek goddess, had singled out Paul as deserving death. In their opinion, this was probably due to an alleged murder. He must have been an evil man for this fate to have befallen him.

But he didn’t die. He simply shook off the viper and it fell harmlessly into the fire. So their logical conclusion was that, instead of deserving death, he must be a god himself! Makes sense, right? From villain to deity in under 60 seconds. Somedays you’re the pigeon and somedays you’re the statue.

Man-pleasers fall into a trap of their own making. Trying to make everyone happy, they make no one happy, least of all themselves. Jesus said, “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” Man-pleasing requires lies when truth is needed, silence when we should speak, and misrepresenting who we are and what we believe. 

This wasn’t a problem for Paul. Regardless of what the crowd said, he knew that he was neither condemned by the goddess Justice, nor was he any kind of a deity. He knew His God and he knew himself. And he knew what he believed. He had decided well before this time that he would be a God-pleaser rather than a man-pleaser. In order to please people, he would be disqualified as a servant of Christ.

Human opinion is fickle. Somedays you’re the dog and somedays you’re the fire hydrant. So decide ahead of time whom you will strive to please. The life-pattern of a child of God is to please God and love people. All people.

Then, when the time to take a stand comes, you’ll always be clear about who God is, who you are, and what you believe.

Pleasing God and loving you,

Pastor SteveCAD433DE-4AF5-4D76-AB06-BC28C82EB141

2 thoughts on “Never Alone”

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