Jump Start # 2587
Acts 17:25 “Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things.”
Our verse comes from Paul’s sermon while he was in Athens. A city of idols. A people of multiple gods. Confused, misguided and lost is how the apostle saw them. They needed to know something about the One True God. His message was not just about God, but also about mankind. There was a connection, a strong connection. That was missing in mythology and although the Greeks had so many gods and beliefs, it wasn’t doing them much good. Their gods didn’t seem to care. They seemed out of touch. Rather than walking away from these gods, they found ways to introduce more and more. Their gods were limited in function and purpose. A god of war wouldn’t help a farmer when it came to harvest time. A god of fertility wouldn’t do much good in a time of war. So many gods, and so little connection to the people.
Our verse identifies several wonderful reminders about God.
First, God doesn’t need us to survive. He needs nothing. He has no weakness, soft spots or deficiencies. He’s not like Superman who crumbles when kryptonite is near. God is all powerful. God is all sufficient. He is not limited. War, harvest, fertility, life and even death—our God can do it all. The Greeks had no god to match what Paul said. Our God doesn’t need an image of Himself. Our God got along just fine before He made us.
Second, God gives. He gives to all. He gives life. He gives breath. He doesn’t give to just those who believe in Him. The Greeks had life, not because of their gods, but because of The God. They had breath, not because of their gods, but because of The God. Even though they didn’t know about Jehovah, and certainly didn’t believe in Him, they were still receiving blessings from Him. God sends the rain upon the righteous and the unrighteous.
Every person owes their existence, both in origin and currently to God. Those that love God and those that deny God. It’s the same. That thought is hard for some of us. We’d think God ought to bless those who love Him. Others, the way we tend to think, ought to be left to their own. But God doesn’t think that way. God gives to all. He gives breath to the very person who in a college biology class mocks the concept of creation and tries to defend evolution. God gives breath to the actor who on screen and even off screen blasphemies His holy name. God gives breath to the criminal, the false teacher, the atheist, the mocker, the abuser, as well, as the disciple, the follower, and those that are committed to Him. Every person. Breath to those that killed Stephen. Breath to those who killed the young baby boys in Egypt. Breath to those who screamed, “crucify, crucify” when Pilate asked, what he should do with Jesus. Breath to those who raised the hammers and pounded the nails into the hands of our Lord. That’s just hard for me. I’m glad I’m not God. I believe I’d be sucking air out of some people, rather than giving them breath. God is good to all.
Third, although God needs nothing from us, we need everything from Him. We need life. We need breath. Without God, we cannot make it. But there is something that God wants. He wants us to praise Him. He wants us to worship Him. He wants us to obey Him. He wants us to be connected, committed and dedicated to Him. Can He survive if we don’t do those things? Certainly. He has always been God. Can we survive, especially eternally, without doing those things? Nope. The very essence of our breath shows that God wants us to survive. God is reaching out to us. He is giving to us. He is there for us. Why do so few see that?
Fourth, God is connected to His creation. Not only does He give it life, but He gives it breath. Now, a few facts I had to look up. The typical person takes between 15,000-30,000 breaths a day. Average that out to 22,500 a day. That becomes 157,500 breaths a week and 675,000 a month. Roughly that becomes a bit more than eight million a year. So if you are 40, you’ve been given 320 million breaths by God. Now think about all the people on the planet. Paul is showing that unlike the Greek gods that didn’t know and really didn’t care about life on earth, the One True God was not only aware, but DAILY engaged and involved with His creation. God is not at a distance. God is not unaware of what you are going through. How personal, powerful and profound this very thought makes our God. Every person has been blessed by God. Until that last breath that we take here, God has been engaged in our lives.
Finally, God cares. The very reason He is giving breath is because we must have that. God cares about His creation. God loves His creation. God wants the best for His creation. No one can do as much as God can. No one has the capacity as God does. No one has the resources as God does. No one is unlimited by time, space, money, politics, availability as God is. He never sleeps. He is never out of touch. He is never preoccupied. He is never gone. He never dies. No one is like our God. He ought to be our first choice and first response when problems arise. Because of what He does, we ought to be thankful. He thinks of us more than we think of Him. He does more for us than we could ever possibly do for Him.
One verse, Paul is showing the confused pagan believers of Athens, that no one has cared for them, loved them, and helped them as much as the One True God. He has been there for them even when they did not know that. He was there even when they did not know that God existed. And, in our world today, this same one verse, this same simple message, needs to be shared with all.
There is a God! He is alive! Are you living and acting as if that is true?