Tag Archives: Being an Example

Setting Examples

Ordinary Time
January 26, 2018

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

 It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. ‘Food will not bring us close to God.’ We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall. –1 Corinthians 8:7-13

I had a neighbor several years ago who did not attend movies in theaters. He watched them regularly on television. When I asked him about this behavior, he quoted the above scripture to me. A minister I knew apparently regularly was seen entering a theater dedicated solely to showing pornography. He argued his transparency in action was admirable. Of course, he saw nothing wrong with his choice of entertainment. We must be constantly aware of the examples we set for others, and we must not rigidly follow practiced that tend more to make us appear self-righteous. God never promised us free will would be easy.

Now I do think we should pay heed to Paul’s advice, and we might need to do some self-examination of our behavior. In the name of hospitality, churches are notorious for constantly putting food, often unhealthy food, before us and encouraging us to eat it. Do we have any responsibility to at least offer a healthy, lower calorie choice at such times? How do we deal with serving alcoholic beverages in our home when we know our guest is a recovering addict? Gambling seems just a waste of money to me, but I love to watch horses race and attend concerts the music of some of my favorite performers; both activities are often available for watching at venues whose major enterprise is gambling. Paul, I think is saying when we sense the need to decide something we think might be misconstrued we need to err on the side of caution.

Prayer: Lord, help me be intentional in the way I present myself to others weighing the well-being of others against my personal desires. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Living Love

Ordinary Time
January 25, 2018

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.

 Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘no idol in the world really exists’, and that ‘there is no God but one.’ Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. –1 Corinthians 8:1-6

How do we glean from the experiences of our first-century brothers and sisters in Christ ways to address the issues we face today? While eating meat offered to idols is no longer an issue, we still have idols. Greed and lust for power are two of the most virulent. Perhaps purchasing fair trade products is a counter to both of these idols. Greed and lust for power are directly related to all kinds of injustice in our world today. How we invest our money whether simply buying groceries or purchasing stocks matters.

The key Paul provides, for us to measure how we are to act, is love. We may spend hours comparing products to buy hoping to get the best appliance or the best deal. How much time do we spend discerning whether what we cannot live without was made by child labor working long days in horrid conditions? How much of our food is harvested by undocumented aliens because our government stalemates on creating an immigrant system that is effective and efficient? Who benefits from an antiquated and disjointed immigration system? Would border safety issues decline if a workable immigration system operated?

In the first century Corinth, Christianity was judged by the actions of its practitioners. It still is today. Reminds me of a children’s song I sang many years ago:

Watch your eyes and ears and lips and hands and feet
Watch your eyes and ears and lips and hands and feet
For there’s a Father up above, looking down in tender love
Watch your eyes and ears and lips and hands and feet.*

Prayer: Parent of All, help us remember what we learned as children and if we have not yet learned your message of love, teach it to us anew. Amen.

Summary last verse of Watch your Eyes, see at https://gospelchoruses.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/watch-your-eyes/

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.