Pastor Jonathan's Monday reflection...
"Would you like a cooked Tri-tip? They gave us an extra." There are very few questions I would answer so quickly in the affirmative, but when I got this text from Triny yesterday I chuckled and responded, "Was it sacrificed to idols?!"
Of course Triny was with the Children so she missed the sermon but her son Will filled her in on my humor and the point of 1 Corinthians 8. Mike, Triny and Will then stopped by with the meat, which I would gladly eat without destroying their conscience, and we had an impromptu family dinner with steak, potatoes, asparagus and some bread. We played the Shaft soundtrack from my vinyl collection and it was all good. Laughter. Meat. Believers around the table breaking bread (at least those of us that eat the toxin gluten!)
It is exactly the point of 1 Corinthians 8. You can't care for other believers if you are never around them. If you don't spend life together, how would you ever have the opportunity to set aside your rights in deference and discipleship of the new brothers and sisters in Christ? And how can you model this love to a watching world if they are never invited to watch it happen because you don't hang with the people you site by on Sundays?
I know this is a little convicting to me. I can get so set in my schedule and the demands of the kiddos schedules, and I probably don't open my home enough or even invite little brothers in the faith to just be present when I am doing life. Beyond even my personal life, I am increasingly noticing the importance of community in the life of Grace Church.
We can be convinced that when you are part of a small church it is easier to know more people and have a sense of community on Sunday mornings. This is true to a point, you can certainly have 50 acquaintances easier if there are only 80 people in a church, but what about true friends, those that you fight the fight of faith with. That encourage, correct, pray for and advocate for you.
As we shed all those silly resolutions we may have set a couple of weeks ago, lets all approach 2017 with a bent toward this love we see unfold in 1 Corinthians. If you do one thing at Grace this year, please make it engaging in a Grace Group, or Bible study with other believers. Let your roots spread beyond merely Sunday. Give yourself opportunities to live our humble love, gracious with one another.
We can only endeavor to do this because we are the weaker brother. Jesus set aside his rights to build community with us. To live a perfect life in our place, and give up his body to broken for us, his blood to forge a new covenant of grace with us. Now, by his Spirit we are empowered to lock arms with other believers and live loving one another in response to what we have been given. May we let this motivate us all the more this year.
And please, feel free to bring steak to my house for dinner any time!