Daily Worship

Looking out for one another

Linda Pollock January 29, 2024 8 6
Image credit: Unsplash
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1 Corinthians 8: 1-13 (NRSVA)

8 Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3 but anyone who loves God is known by him.

4 Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘no idol in the world really exists’, and that ‘there is no God but one.’ 5 Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

7 It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 ‘Food will not bring us close to God.’ We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak. 10 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? 11 So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12 But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 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.

When I was a teenager, our school owned a huge house in Newcastle, Co. Down. Us inner city youngsters from Belfast, at the height of the “The Troubles,” would get the opportunity to go for a week-long holiday every year. The house was an outdoors centre, and we would go into the Mourne Mountains walking and learning basic teamwork skills. The group usually numbered around 40 kids and teachers, and the walking pace was set for the slowest. Sometimes this meant we got home later than anticipated and sometimes the fitter kids would get bored waiting for the rest of us to catch up. That was irrelevant, the safety of the group was paramount, and, to keep everyone safe, we all had to go at the pace for the slowest walkers. Often, I was in that group, and it bothered me, but my teacher told me I brought more to the community than being at the front or at the end of the climb!

St Paul is urging us to know ourselves well and, in that knowledge, love others as we love ourselves. He is calling us to sacrifice our needs for the needs of beloved siblings in Christ Jesus.      

This understanding is completely counter-cultural and very easy for us to ignore.

But! In the Kingdom of God there is no hierarchy based on strength, or talent, or bank balance, or any of the other attributes our culture applauds, affirms, and aspires to. How we look out at our culture determines how we live, love, and serve. It forms our sense of what is right, what is important, and how we respond to the needs all around us. As God’s beloved children we are called to look out at life through the lens of Christ Jesus. How did He see, what did He see, why did He see things differently to the religious authorities? He is our guide, He is our role model, our moral compass, our example of sacrificing Himself for the needs of others.

So, today, how are you seeing, what are you seeing, why are you looking out? You can’t unsee what Christ Jesus shows you, you must respond.




O God Who sees each one through eyes full of love and grace, grant that we might see as You see and love as You love, choosing to sacrifice our own needs for the good of Your beloved children. In the Name of Christ Jesus, Amen.