Credit where credit is due
Have you ever seen the Tim Allen/Sigourney Weaver movie GalaxyQuest? It's actually been out several years. How many? Enough that the DVD is in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. Ann and I recently watched it for the first time in several years after we got it through our Netflix membership.
As you watch the film, and if you like Star Trek or other space-type movies, you should, there's a scene where Alan Rickman has saved some of the good guys from certain destruction. Rickman is one of the crew that works for Tim Allen's character, much like Spock to Kirk. As Rickman enters the room, the crowd begins to cheer their rescuer…and they cheer Allen. Rickman drops his head and mutters "That's just not fair." (I'd link the scene, but you need the rest of the film for it to make sense, and I can't link the whole film.)
Sometimes, we don't get credit for the things we do. The truth is, though, sometimes we don't deserve credit. Today, I want to look at another verse in 1 Peter:
12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Notice a few things here:
1. Peter has commanded the believers about how they behave among the Gentiles. The word was "honorable." That means, for those of you keeping score, worthy of honor. It's behavior that the Gentiles can't help but approve. It means an adherence to a standard of behavior that is knowable and known inside and outside the church.
2. Peter has notified the believers that the same ones who they behave honorably among will call them evildoers. And "speak" here isn't just a "blast them in the Facebook comment stream" term. It's a legal term. "Speak" as in "file a legal charge against." Your honorable behavior will cause you to stand out, and, as such, be a target for the Gentiles to go after.
3. Peter has identified the divide in the world. The Jews saw the world as Jews or Gentiles. I think the New Testament, especially the Epistles, begin to use "Gentile" to refer to those not in the church, excluding Jews that weren't. That's probably more of a paper for school to explain it than a blog post, but I think you can see in the New Testament 3 groups: Jews, Believers, and Gentiles. Jews are an ethnic group and partakers in a belief system. Gentiles are all non-Jews, so another ethnic group. Believers are those who follow Christ, and come from either ethnic group. I could be wrong, but I think that's right.
4. Peter has pointed to the right place for glory. Now we get back to our opening movie scene. In the movie, Tim Allen gets credit, though it's due Alan Rickman. In our lives, when we do good things, credit rightly belongs to God our King. As such, while we may think it's not fair, it's actually very fair. We are capable of doing good and right things because God has made us in His image, and we're free to do things that please God because He has redeemed us. Rather than be exasperated, we should be happy that God is praised.
5. Peter has, finally, warned us: a day of "visitation" is coming. And I don't think he means happy church members with fresh-baked bread for those who came to church for the first time last week. I see the two-fold meaning here: A. When the Spirit of God "visits" and draws someone to Christ. If they have seen us be honorable, they will more likely give glory to God and accept Him. B. When God returns to judge men according to their deeds.
I hope to live my life today to give glory and credit where it is due: to the God who has made me, rather to live in such a way that I must take the blame for failing Him.