*If you would like to read this blog in another language, please use the "Google Translate" button to the right!
1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1 (NRSV)
Do all to God's glory
My favorite line from today’s Bible passage is, “Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.” This is so entirely countercultural that it excites me! See, in contemporary society, most of us are taught to look out for Number 1. We are taught that we should do all for our own benefit or the benefit of our family and friends. We seek to make our name great—to become rich and famous! We carefully do everything we can to advance our agendas, goals, and dreams sometimes even at the expense of others.
But the GOOD NEWS is that Christians are taught to do exactly the opposite by Paul! Paul says in effect, “Do what will benefit, help, and build up somebody else.” He seems particularly concerned about being cognizant of the needs of non-Christians in this regard.
We know that we are free in Christ Jesus to do anything that does not eschew the Law of Love. But, Paul says, “just because something is lawful, doesn’t mean that it is beneficial.” What is the benefit that Christians should be concerned about? It is simple. We seek to share GOOD NEWS-- and be GOOD NEWS--in the lives of people who need it.
For example, many of the people that I have tried to win to Christ are alcoholics. It is lawful for me to drink alcohol in moderation. There is nothing in my understanding of Scripture, nor in denominational doctrine that would prohibit it. But, I choose not to drink alcohol around these friends. Why? It would be a stumbling block for them. They may think, “Alcohol is bad. If she loves Jesus, why is she drinking?” Or they may erroneously think, “She’s a strong Christian, if she can do it so can I.” Or they may just think, “I can’t hang around with her, she’ll cause me to mess up my program.” In my church, we even go so far as to provide grape juice during the Lord’s Supper for these friends! We understand that grape juice is “fruit of the vine” and so permissible and we also understand that our new friends cannot imbibe the wine because it may cause them to be led astray in their desires.
This is just one example of how we can accommodate new friends for the sake of the Gospel, but I know there are many more. The bottom line is this, we must do all that we can to share the GOOD NEWS with those who have not heard, have forgotten, or have rejected the God who loves them. Sometimes this means taking into consideration the feelings and conscious of the new friends we seek to share GOOD NEWS with.
God loved all of us so much that Jesus was willing to die on the cross to forgive our sins and to make us friends with God. God radically accommodated us by taking on a body of flesh, becoming human, and dying a dreadful death on the cross! Isn’t that Amazing Grace? In response to this great love, we share some of that same grace with others by forfeiting our advantage in order to bring glory to God, for the sake of the cross.
This type of mentality requires discipline and humility. We will often want to do what we want to do. But, the GOOD NEWS constrains us! It calls to us with arms of love wide open to find a way—any loving and moral way—to lead people into a loving relationship with Christ!
Is there some behavior you need to change today in order to share GOOD NEWS with somebody who shares your life?
Holy God, help us to do all that we can to share the GOOD NEWS with others. If there are behaviors that we need to change in order to make the Gospel attractive and palatable to others, help us to do it gladly and with great joy! We want everyone to know and experience your love, just as we have. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*The entire scripture reading for today can be found by clicking the ELCA Daily Bible Reading Tab to the right.
*from Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com/
*EACH ONE--REACH ONE! To share GOOD NEWS with a friend please click the "Share With Friends" button to the right! Thanks for reading and please come again.
*Pastor Yolanda extends a very special welcome to our friends reading outside of the United States of America! We are honored that you are sharing with us today.