Vacations, Retirement, Cosmo, or Something Else?

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Acts 17:22–25

[22] So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. [23] For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. [24] The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, [25] nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

What comes to mind when you hear the word worship? A group of people sitting in a church service reciting prayers and singing songs? A follower of Islam doing their daily rituals? A Jewish synagogue where the rabbi teaches his pupils?

But what if I told you that everybody worships? A person spends their days running after the next promotion. A woman spends all of her time trying to have the perfect body so she can look like the image on the cover of Cosmo. A family spends their extra money on vacations as they try to cultivate the perfect life of leisure and play. A couple spends their first thirty years of marriage so focused on saving for retirement that it becomes their daily, weekly, and monthly focus. A sophomore in high school is so concerned about their social status that they post social media pictures that make their life seem more exciting than it actually is. I could go on and on.

This may not seem like religious worship to you, but the reality is that these people are giving their life over to something as if it will give them a sense of completion. They are trying to get something from this world that only God can give them. They are worshiping created things.

The apostle Paul spoke into this same kind of world and culture. The Romans of the first century where exactly the same. However, instead of worshiping their body image or retirement plan they worshiped social status, new ideas, and lots of statues that they called gods. Paul, walking through Athens, realized that in these ways they were very “religious.” So he decided to speak into that culture by showing them that their objects of worship are a shadow or a false depiction of the one true God. As he says in verses 24-25:

[24] The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, [25] nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

Do you see what Paul did? He identified that the Romans run after and worship many created things, and in that process he told them about the one true and living God by showing them that he is greater than any created thing. He is not served by human hands. Instead, he is the one who created everything and gives life to all living things. Both physical life, and for those who believe in his Son Jesus Christ, eternal life.

As Christians today, who believe in and proclaim the message of Christ crucified and risen from the dead, we have the same task. We live in a culture of idol worshipers who are worshiping created objects or ideas that are a mere lifeless shadow of our great and triune God. And it is our responsibility, as his people, to show them, through word and deed that he is greater than anything else. He is the only way to the eternal life, peace, rest, and joy that they are so badly seeking in this world.

So remember, all people are worshiping something. They are seeking after faint and false shadows of the one true and living God. Yet, remember that God has put you in this world to take their false god, and use them to point them to the real thing, our God and Savior Jesus Christ. And May the people in your life hear the gospel, see you live the gospel, and ultimately believe in the gospel and receive everlasting life.

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