May 12th, 2007
No-one wants to be a nobody, and everyone wants to be a somebody. It’s better to be at the top of the tree than at the bottom of the tree. I’ve tried both ends of the tree in my firm, as well as the branches in between, and the top is better! But it’s hard to recognise when you’ve changed from being a nobody into being a somebody. When you’re at the bottom of the tree you can look up at a higher branch and tell yourself that you’ll be a somebody when you get to that branch, but when you get there you don’t feel any different; you’re still wondering how much higher you need to climb in order to become a somebody…
Peter’s First Letter — Chapter 2
2:1 Get rid of all malevolence, deception, hypocrisy, envy, and abuse. 2:2 Like newborn babies, thirst for the pure spiritual milk, to help you grow to salvation, 2:3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 2:4 Come to him, a living stone, rejected by people but chosen by God and precious. 2:5 You are also living stones, built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 2:6 Scripture says, “I am placing in Zion a cornerstone which is chosen and precious. Anyone who believes in him will not be embarrassed.”
2:7 You who believe regard the stone as precious, but for those who do not believe, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,” 2:8 and, “A stone that makes people stumble and a rock which trips them up.” They trip up by disobeying the message, which is what they were predestined to do. 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own possession, so that you can tell people about the goodness of God who called you from darkness into his marvellous light. 2:10 In the past you were nobody, but now you are God’s people. In the past you were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2:11 Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and strangers, to stay away from sinful cravings, which fight against the soul. 2:12 Live exemplary lives amongst unbelievers, so that even when they say that you are doing wrong, they can observe your good deeds and glorify God on the day of judgement. 2:13 Be obedient to every human authority for the Lord’s sake, including the ruling emperor, 2:14 and governors, who are appointed by him to punish lawbreakers and to reward people who do the right thing. 2:15 God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. 2:16 Live freely, without using your freedom as a cover for wickedness, remembering that you are slaves of God.
2:17 Honour all people. Love the family of believers. Respect God. Honour the emperor. 2:18 Slaves, submit to your masters with respect, not only to the ones who are good and considerate, but also to those who are ruthless. 2:19 It is a credit to someone who endures pain, suffering unfairly for the sake of a godly conscience. 2:20 What credit do you deserve for enduring a beating patiently if you have done wrong? But if you patiently endure suffering for doing what is right, you earn credit with God.
2:21 You were called to do this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his footsteps, 2:22 “He did not sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 2:23 When he was insulted, he returned no insults. When he suffered, he made no threats. He left things in the hands of the one who judges fairly. 2:24 He himself carried our sins on his body on the tree. As a result, we have died to sins and come alive to righteousness. You were healed by his wounds. 2:25 You were going astray like sheep, but have now returned to the shepherd and protector of your souls.