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Saturday-Because of You

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

And they praised God because of me.

Galatians 1:24

When we lived in Delaware, we were part of a small group Bible study made up of people like us, parents with young children. Because we had lots in common with these families, we’d get together for a cookout, board games, or to play cards.

One of the other dads in the group was named Tim. He was a nice enough guy, but I didn’t feel a real close relationship with him. I was involved with computer technology, and he wasn’t. I liked sports, and he didn’t. Yes, he was friendly and enjoyable to be around, but there was nothing that I’d call a close, deep, personal connection.

This went on for about seven years. Church, small group Bible studies, and families get togethers were the only times I saw Tim. We never spent any time alone. It was always with our wives and children. It was never just the guys. We never went out for lunch, or a movie.

When it came time to move to Connecticut for another job, the Bible study threw us a nice going away party. The movers came, and we were gone. Gone to our next house. Our next neighborhood. Our next church. Our next adventure.

A few weeks later I called to see how Tim was doing. He was having trouble with his job and their youngest daughter was giving them fits. He was unloading a lot of emotional baggage and stuff that had been building up for a while. I tried to listen, paying attention, and asking questions.

After a while it seemed like he was about done. He was more relaxed now and the conversation was moving towards a friendly conclusion. As I was saying my goodbyes, saying how we missed the people and Delaware, something unexpected happened.

When I say something unexpected happened, that’s not nearly strong enough. It was a knock-me-off-my-feet kind of unexpected. Here’s what he said.

“Chet, you’re my best friend and I thank God for you.”

Wait a minute. How could I possibly be his best friend? And if that were true, if I was really his best friend, then something was really wrong.

But that’s the way it is sometimes. You are just living life, doing what God wants you to do, and you have no idea what impact you’re having on the lives of those around you.

Look at Paul. They’d never seen him. They’d never heard him. Heck, they weren’t even connected on social media with him. They only heard the report about his changed life. The guy who was persecuting is now preaching.

How could this be? It must be a trick. Some scheme to get the Christians to come out of hiding. Some evil plan to trap the early Christian community so they could be rounded up like so many cattle for the slaughter.

But it wasn’t a trick. And how did they know? Because Paul was preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. He was building up what he had been trying to teardown.

He wasn’t trying to sell anything. He wasn’t telling people that they had to be better. He wasn’t pointing to a list of laws that they to obey or they’d be in trouble with God.

No, he was preaching the faith. He was talking about faith in Jesus as the solution to their brokenness and separation from God. He was pointing to Jesus as the once-and-for-all payment for all our sins. There was no more trying to get to God through laws or rules.

Paul was telling people that they could become children of God through faith in Jesus. This Jesus was God come down, God with us, so we could be with God. We couldn’t make ourselves any better through rules or laws. That’s why God had to come and do it for us. In our place.

And the result was that these people praised God because of Paul. They heard that he once was lost but now is found, was blind but now he sees. He left his Pharisee profession of teaching that the way to God was through rules and laws and went in the totally opposite direction of grace through faith.

Which brings up an interesting question: are there any people out there who are praising God because of you? People who’ve seen the kind of changes in your life that make them praise God. It isn’t that that they don’t want to praise God, but when they see what God has done, the differences he’s made in your life, they have to praise God. They must praise God. They can’t help themselves.

The surprise of a lifetime just might be that there are people out there who are praising God because of you, and you don’t know about them. Are there people that motivate you to praise God for the changes he’s made in their lives? Have you ever told them?

I think it’s time to tell them these three words; “Because of you.”

Noodling Questions

  • How did you feel when you left people that knew you well?

  • What are the steps you take to let people get to know you?

  • Who’s praising God because of you? Why?

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