(1 Corinthians 10:25-33)
Here is a question for you. If you knew Jesus was looking over your shoulder every minute of the day, would you do anything differently?
I hope the answer you gave to yourself was “no.” But if it wasn't, then consider what you might need to do to change.
The focus of this section of scripture is this: Do all things to the glory of God.
It doesn't matter what you do as you wander the days of your life, everything you do or say should be uplifting and glorifying to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. But how?
How is a very good question and the answer is remarkably straightforward. But it is also difficult in many ways because it is the antithesis of the ways of this world, especially in these latter days.
If you quiz the people of this world as to what would be better, to serve or be served, the vast majority would say it is better to be served.
The people of this world want to be number one! They seek to be the top dog in whatever aspect they live their lives. They seek the rewards of this world and the adulation of other people.
But this is not the way of God. In Christ Jesus we are learning the way of the servant. We are learning that is is more important to be the servant than the master, for we have only one master, Jesus Christ.
And if we are to do all things to the glory of God, then we just serve as Christ Jesus Himself came and served mankind, even unto the death. His example of service is the one we must aspire to for his is the example of life and love that leads us to the Father.
Servants versus Slaves
But the service we offer is not slavery. Service and slavery are poles apart.
Every person, regardless of heritage, descendency, race, religion or anything else comes into this world as a slave. We are all born under the bondage and slavery of sin.
And sin is a hard taskmaster. Sin leads to death and destruction. Sin leads to suffering and pain in this life, especially when the sin is a direct violation of the ways of God. Those who choose to reject God and His ways, and in the end that is what sin really is, are doomed to suffer for their sins and are doomed to be slaves to sin.
But servants are not in slavery. Servants are not bound to those they serve as a slave is bound to a master.
Servants have a free will and servants are free to choose their way. Servants serve because they choose to serve, not by compunction or by force, but because it is their choice.
This is a great and significant difference between servants and slaves, and we see this in this section of scripture.
Freedom and Choice
What we see in this section of scripture is the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ. We are set free from all things and thus able to make choices as to what we wish to do or not do.
Paul speaks here about eating with unbelievers and food offered to idols and whether we should eat or not eat. In essence he says that if we give thanks to the Lord for the food offered to us, then we should eat it.
But also our freedom of choice needs to be tempered by the love of God.
It is not walking in love to put a stumbling block in front of a brother or sister in Christ that could cause them to fall. How does this work in the situation Paul is describing here?
Well first we need to acknowledge the position Paul has taken regarding the food.
Food is just food. And an idol is of no consequence because an idol is just a lump of wood or stone or metal that has no life and no power. So food offered to an idol has no meaning or significance when we understand these things and so if we are offered such food, we can give thanks to God through the Lord Jesus Christ and eat whatever is put before us.
But not everyone has this level of knowledge and understanding.
If a brother or sister is aware that the food was offered to an idol and if THEY think this is an issue, then WE should not eat the food. The reason why is that THEIR conscience is weak and their knowledge is lacking and if we were to eat the food, they may be torn down.
If they see us eating food offered to an idol, even though we know it is just food, then they may also eat and condemn themselves thinking they have sinned. And that is a failure on OUR part because we brought them to a place where they could stumble in the Lord.
We are free from all of these things and we can treat food as food, especially as we give thanks to God for whatever is offered to us to eat. But as servants of the Lord we need to learn to consider the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others first so we do not upset their faith.
Whatever we do we must do to the glory of God, and the only way we can do that is to serve God faithfully by walking in love with Him and His people.
So we need to also aspire to the place Paul spoke of in the last verses of this section.
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. – (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
Seek the advantage and the best interests of the people of God rather than self-interests. Seek to please all people while living within the faith that we have in Jesus Christ so that we truly walk as servants of the Lord. And learn not to offend anyone, especially those who are young in the Lord and still weak in the faith.
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