Reflection March 30

 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 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 


 I’ve enjoyed and have been deeply blessed by the reflections of others in this Lenten journey.  Thank you all for your willingness to share your thoughts.  It is my prayer that as the Spirit leads me in writing this reflection, that you all may be blessed as well. 

While walking with the Lord, I have come to realize more and more that the Lord does not reveal or bless one person in a vacuum, but it is always communal.  These verses are calling us to a higher place, to care more for others than our self-interest.  Paul is asking us to keep others in mind before we think, do, or begin to interact.  We are called to serve others before our own desires.

Although Paul is informing the church that they have the freedom to eat or drink as they like, he is asking them to use their freedom for others.  This “other focus” view will help to break down barriers that can block conversations. 

I can personally relate to these verses regarding the drinking of alcohol.  After moving to the mid-west, not only the mid-west, but the buckle of the bible belt, where the consumption of alcohol is questionable at best.  I realized that in Branson some people, some brothers and sisters are offended by any consumption of alcohol.  This view would be foreign to my family’s view. The drinking of alcohol is normal and acceptable, even in reasonable partaking among the church body.  Of course, abuse of alcohol is seen as wrong and sinful, causing harm and must be dealt with.

Harvest is a church body that comes from a variety of tradition’s and church beliefs.  I trust Paul would be proud of how we have dealt with some issues that require us to focus on others.  Harvest Elders prayerfully chose to have both vine and juice at communion, in order to honor the concerns of all parties.  This, I believe is what Paul is calling us to do, to have an outward view on the minor issues and on the major issues to stand firm. Paul is professing that the church, to allow the Spirit to guide us, and follow his leading in all circumstances.  This is the greater good, the promoting of the gospel over my own desires or even taste buds. 

I pray as we continue to walk through this Lenten journey together, that we all may be willing to sacrifice our own desires for the sake of the gospel.    

Jim Freeman