“In the Lord Jesus, I know, and I’m sure that nothing is unholy in and of itself unless it becomes unholy to the person who thinks it is unholy.” Rom 14:14 (Simple English Bible)
It was a silly argument. One of the ladies who regularly cleaned the church building, was adamant that only the emblems and a lace doily could be present on the communion table. No Bibles, books, candlesticks, flowers or anything else could occupy this table. It was exclusively reserved for the embroidered doily and the plates for the bread and serving tray for the grape juice.
Many members considered this to be silly and trite. There was no such thing as a ‘holy table” or holy space. Even the church building was merely a building. Eventually, a spat broke out between a few of the women, creating ripples of discontent in the congregation. The focus became the argument, not the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Only God is holy. He expects us to participate in His holiness and righteousness. Our focus is always on His Son, Jesus, and the sacrifice that was made for us. Our first obligation is to Him. That’s who we are. We cannot insist on our way of choosing what we think should be holy. Because we are servants of the Most High God.
“We are waiting for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13 (Simple English Bible)
Edith wasn’t a pretty woman, perhaps a little too ungainly and short. No matter how she dressed or had her hair done, something always seemed to be a little odd. Even in school and then collage, she had an awkward way about her. A little clumsy, sometimes too loud and didn’t seem to understand concepts very quickly. But she was a good woman, a faithful Christian and a generous giver. In her late 40’s, Edith had given up on marriage or a special man in her life.
Her sister, Jennifer, was the opposite. Lithe, funny and sharp. She had married early and had a large family — six children. They’d never been close as sisters but one day, Jennifer asked Edith if she felt as if life had passed her by. Edith was surprised and shook her head. “No,” she answered, “my hope is in Jesus and that will be realized when He comes as He has promised!”
Do you think that Christians sometimes loose their focus? That perhaps the things that the world holds as essential and worthy are distracting us from our true toil? Maybe God has more hope in Edith as a faithful servant than others who need to feel that they’re apart of life and the world!
“Master, treat your slaves well and fairly. Remember you have a Master in Heaven, too.” Col 4:1 (Simple English Bible)
Henry was affronted when he was told by his wife that he was rude to others! He thought he was just being forthright and honest, perhaps a little blunt, but that never hurt anyone. Even at church with other members, he tried to be balanced and uncompromising but Edith pointed out that he was too blunt for his own good!
The pastor was helpful but a little skittish when Henry came to see him. Yes, people had complained and wondered what was wrong with him. Then, he read this passage from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians and explained that if slave owners in the first century were to treat their slaves well and fairly, could Christians today not do the same? Henry was thoughtful and decided to curb his tongue. It was a struggle but he managed to get a handle on it. Particularly after he finally understood that he also had a Master in Heaven who’d treated him more than fairly!
There are times when we must been forthright and honest. The truth doesn’t change nor does it make friends sometimes. We stand by the truth. But there are also times when we should be kind and understanding, bringing the light of the truth gently to those who need to hear it that way. After all, we are just slaves, too.