Acts 3:1–26, Acts 14:8–18
All of us have experienced—or know some close who has—a significant health issue, whether going on for years, or for a short time. Often those health issues come with significant costs, too, making a bad situation even worse. It also isn’t necessarily a matter of good or bad health care insurance. It is all the stuff surrounding the issue that often has the greatest cost.
In the era of Acts, and even as recent as today, people who are disabled (physically or developmentally) are viewed as a waste. What the crippled men experienced is, sadly, no different than what many experience today. Outcast. Forced to beg. Their families brought them to beg. Guilt people into giving. That was their value.
We all have a temptation to judge people on the value they bring to us. Do they make us happy? Do they take care of us? Or the flip side, what does this continuing relationship doing to me? How is this keeping me from what I want to do?*
When we judge people by value, we judge people just as if they were things. People are not things. They have God’s image in them (Imago Dei).
Peter, John, Paul, and Barnabas could have allowed themselves to be valued by the results of the healings. Had they done so, however, they would have not been acting within the framework of God, and it’s questionable how effective they would have been afterward. Instead, they pointed to Jesus. They could have allowed themselves to be used, as many of us do to gain “friends” and influence. They pointed to God.
1) Have you ever found yourself evaluating people on their value to you?
2) Have you ever believed that someone pretended to like or even love you because of what you could do for them?
3) Do you think God values you because of what you can do for God, or is there something else?
*This, of course, does not mean remain in an abusive relationship.