Monday, November 23, 2009

Sanctifying the Name of God

I love these historical anecdotes because they illustrate the effects of our actions as a positive witness to those who do not share our beliefs. What a wonderful way to give glory to our Father in Heaven. We surely "hallow" His name in this way.

"Simeon b. Shetah [80 BC] was occupied with preparing flax. His disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, desist; we will buy you an ass, and you will not have to work so hard.’ They went and bought an ass from an Arab, and a pearl was found on it. They came to him and said, ‘From now on you need not work any more.’ He said, ‘Why?’ They said, ‘We bought you an ass from an Arab, and a pearl was found on it.’

He said to them, ‘Does the owner know of it?’ They said, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Go and give it back to him.’ They said, ‘But did not R. Huna, in the name of Rab, report that, even according to him who said that no profit may be made [by a third party] from that which is stolen from a heathen, yet all the world agrees that, if you find something which belonged to a heathen, you may keep it?’

He said, ‘Do you think that Simeon ben Shetah is a barbarian? No, he would prefer to hear the Arab say, "Blessed be the God of the Jews," than to possess all the riches of the world.’

It is also proved, from the story of R. Hanina, that lost property should be restored for the sake of the sanctification of the Name. For once, some aged Rabbis bought a heap of corn from some soldiers, and they found in it a bundle of denarii, and they returned it to the soldiers, who said, “Blessed be the God of the Jews."

(Barrett, C.K., ed. 1987. The New Testament Background: Writings from Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire that Illuminate Christian Origins. San Francisco: Harper-Collins Publishing., pg 191)

1 comment:

  1. We must not hide our light under a bushel, even if it would seem to profit us personally. In all situations, places and things, we must be aware that we have covenanted to stand as His witnesses and always give the glory to Him, for He is the Light.
    So often our natural inclination is to take the credit, accept the glory, pat ourselves on the back, etc. when we do something good. Thanks for helping me remember that He is the one I am trying to emulate and lead others to. Not by MY light, but by HIS.