Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Mutants, Servants and Life-Style Choices

Suggested Reading: Genesis 24:1-15 (or read the whole story here)

A few years ago the SYFY channel ran a show called ALPHAS. The show was essentially a toned down version of X-Men, focused on people with advanced mutations that give them special abilities. One of these Alphas was a woman named Kat whose ability enabled her to learn any skill by watching it once. She could watch it on tv or witness it live in person but if she saw it just once, she could learn and reproduce it.

While there are people who have very good memories and learning skills, in reality, all of us learn by watching other people. In the book of Genesis, we are given a very illustrative example of someone learning by watching. One of Abraham's trusted servants, an older gentlemen who had watched Abraham's relationship with God play out through the years, was sent on a quest to find a wife for Abraham's son Isaac. When the servant arrived at the place where Abraham had instructed, he stopped and prayed. “O  Lord, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug. ’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too! ’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” (Genesis 24:12-14, NLT).

Now, several things stand out about the servant's prayer. For one, most eastern peoples of the day believed that gods were stationary, territorial beings who only had power within a very specific and limited area. Second, they tended to believe that the gods could control certain things, like the weather or fertility or a roll of the dice, but they didn't tend to believe the gods could control people's actions. But here was this servant, hundreds of miles from where the Lord was normally worshiped, asking him to control both fate and people by bringing the girl the Lord had chosen at just the right time to do exactly the right thing. Where did he learn that? Most likely from watching Abraham's  relationship with God.

People watch us all the time, whether we realize it or not, and they are learning about our God from us. What do we show them? Do we show them a God who is loving and patient, who is in control of the future? Or do we show them a god who is so pathetic and weak that we have to worry, cheat and plot to move forward in life?  Do we show them a God who inspires integrity in His people or a god who doesn't mind Christian symbols plastered on the back of a car going 15 over the speed-limit? Do we show them a God who cares about the insignificant and the poor or a god who only cares about those powerful enough to attract attention to themselves? Maybe, we show them a god who plays favorites rather a God who sent his Son so that no one would perish.

What are you showing people with your life? Most people will only learn what they see in you. 

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