July 20, 2018


July 20, 2018


Psalm 23
Acts 17:16-31
This weekend’s reading: Matthew 14:22-32


When you think of “idols,” what do you think of first? I think of some kind of primitive, scary-looking statue covered with gold and with emeralds for eyes — something that Indiana Jones would be searching for deep in a rainforest in Thailand or the Amazon.

Our reading today describes the apostle Paul’s experience in the sophisticated and intellectual city of Athens where he discovered idols around every turn. They aren’t described in today’s text, except for one — the altar to an unknown god. Using that as an entry point, Paul shared the gospel with this city of philosophers and thinkers. He told the curious audience that “God does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands as though he needed anything.” Rather God is the one who created all and gives life to all, and now has come to us in his son, Jesus.

We may not be tempted to worship an object made of wood, stone or gold, but we do have idols in our culture which often lure us from the worship of God. Success, money, physical beauty or fitness, comfort — any of these can supplant God in our heart of hearts.


  • What “idol” tempts you the most?
  • How can you protect your heart from the temptation to worship that idol rather than God?


  • Ask a parent or other trusted adult to help you find Athens on a map or globe. Talk about how Paul shared the story of Jesus with the people there.
  • How can you share the story of Jesus with your friends?

Living God, we know we are tempted by idols just as the ancient Athenians were. Help us to identify the idols in our hearts and give us the strength to reject them and put you in the place of honor and worship. Amen.