John Donne, English poet, wrote that “No man is an island entire of itself.” The point being that we all are a part of one another and our actions impact others. How true! The things I do affects others today and well into the future. I am not isolated. I am not alone.
What likely seemed an isolated decision by Eve to take of the forbidden fruit was not isolated at all. Her single action, in a moment of time, had horrid consequences for all humanity. Every person born and all who will be born, are directly impacted by her sin. Her choice unleashed the influence of sin into the world such that Paul could declare that “all have sinned” (). Indeed, no man is an island.
In the Old Testament, Achan thought he could secretly take the spoil of Israel’s defeated enemy. Surely no one would know, he reasoned. No one did know except God. Soon afterwards the Israelite army assaulted the small city of Ai. Israel was beaten back ad lost about 36 warriors. Why? Because of Achan’s supposedly secret sin (). No man is an island.
Today, someone will be found guilty of a crime and sentenced to jail. They lose their job and suddenly their family, including children, are without support. The children are without guilt but still suffer the consequences of the adult’s action. No man is an island.
This lesson ought be driven home to every parent. Our conduct today will impact our children and grandchildren for generations to come. Children watch their parents. They learn to become adults by modeling our behaviors.
This principle can work to our benefit too. Good conduct and a godly life will also impact those around us. That seems to be the root of Jesus’ admonition to be “the salt of the earth” and to be “the light of the world” (). We do not live in seclusion. Our lives, when lived by God’s direction, benefits others.
Abraham was an aged, nomadic man. Yet his faith remains legendary and gave rise to an entire race of people through whom the Redeemer came. His life and faith influences people even today. No man is an island!
The best example is Jesus Christ. His short life and brief three year public ministry would suggest that he would have little impact upon the world stage. Such a suggestion would be a mistake. No one has ever had the influence upon the world of Jesus the Son of God. No man is an island.
View yourself as person of influence. See your own life as a ministry. Someone, years from now will be impacted by your life today. Will it be for good or ill? That decision is in your hands..
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23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (ESV)
7:1 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.
2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” 4 So about 3,000 men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, 5 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the Lord takes shall come near by households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”
16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor. (ESV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (ESV)