Wednesday 22 March 2017

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

“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.” (vv. 9-13)

1 Corinthians 8:9-13 Wednesday 22 March 2017

Psalm: Psalm 123


Apparently, Queen Elizabeth once said of her devotion to theCommonwealth that she considered it her duty to walk at the pace ofthe slowest man. Entrepreneur Mark Eckhart sums up the ethos ofthis claim well when he said: "Her Majesty's words were not meantto convey that England should give up its role as a world leader,or that the progress of the country should slow, but rather that itshould embrace a mindset of solidarity and fellowship based oncommon responsibilities, interest, and a commitment to leave no manbehind."

Similarly, in 2016 United Nations Deputy Secretary-General JanEliasson told a forum for UN member states on ethics fordevelopment that the concept of 'no man left behind' should befundamental to the UN's new development agenda. "Fundamentalprinciples that underpin the new goals are interdependence,universality and solidarity," he said. "They should be implementedby all segments of all societies, working together. No-one must beleft behind. People who are hardest to reach should be givenpriority."

For Paul, the Corinthians' freedom to do what they liked had thepotential to cause the weaker among them (those with lessunderstanding or 'knowledge' as we saw yesterday) to stumble intosin. As far as Paul is concerned, the Christian community atCorinth needed to move at the pace of its slowest member - to havea care for one another's vulnerabilities. If your partner is analcoholic, that doesn't mean that you can't drink alcohol yourself- but nevertheless, your care for them and desire that they mightbe well should moderate your own behaviour and attitudes. Forexample, you might decide not to store alcohol in the house inorder to save them from temptation. It is better, Paul says, toabstain completely (even though such things cause you no problem)in order that others may be lifted up with you. In this way, noneare held back, fellowship is retained and the strong learn to livein moderation.

To Ponder

  • In today's passage, Paul is talking about vulnerability to sin- but where else in life might the principle of 'no man leftbehind' apply?
  • Are there people in your life who are more vulnerable to'stumbling' than you? What adjustments would you consider making toyour life and behaviour in order to travel more closely withthem?
  • Or perhaps you are that person - what are your stumblingblocks? What can others do to help you avoid them?
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