Saturday, July 30, 2005

Acts 17:16-34

In this section of Acts, Paul, waiting in Athens, was "deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols.

Today, it isn't statues or pictures that direct our focus away from God. Rather, it is things material, like money, jewelry, clothes, drugs, fast cars, big houses, or things immaterial, like power, prestige, and fame, that stand between us and God. Even another person can distract us from God.

When I was in elementary school, I greatly admired one of the nuns. Her name was Sister Lucille Agnes. She was wonderful. She was perfect. I made it a point to see her and to interact with her as often as I possibly could. I thought about her all the time. I even attended 6a.m. mass on weekdays just so I could see her. So, I decided to follow in her footsteps, and I entered the convent in the 9th grade as an "Aspirant." I didn't feel "called," though I said I did. I didn't even want to teach or to nurse, which were the primary services rendered by nuns in those days. I just wanted to be near Sister Lucille. It was very difficult for me at times (because I didn't belong there), but I made it through to graduation. Ironically, Sister Lucille left the convent and subsequently married. (Come to think of it, so did I.) I never thought of her as an idol, but in hindsight, she was one. Clearly, my focus was on her, who worshipped God, and not on worshipping God Himself.

So, what consumes your thoughts? What consumes your time? Where is your focus? What do you "worship?"

As we progress in an increasingly materialistic and selfish age, the following words from Acts remain relevant: "While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

Dear God, in the midst of a world full of distractions, may we worship only You. Amen.

Martha Olson

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