Concern for Others

Claudia Elzinga

READ : 1 Corinthians 8-11

As Paul deals with one problem after another, a common theme runs through his writings—concern for others. Idols represent gods which do not in reality exist; so if meat has been dedicated to them in the market place, what difference does it make? But if a church member has been so steeped in idolatry that he cannot separate the meat from the idol, then he shouldn’t eat meat, lest he shake his fellow believer’s faith. We do not have that particular problem so much today, yet our desire must be not to satisfy our appetites, but rather to be concerned with the impact of our actions on others.

If we are to evangelize people, we must be sensitive to where they are spiritually. We must not compromise principles, but we must be flexible in order to share the gospel in a way in which they can really hear it. As Paul says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (9:22 ESV). The concern is not with our convenience but for the spiritual welfare of others.

The inconsiderate Christian says, “All things are lawful” for me (10:23). But Paul replies, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor” (v. 24). This is to be the guiding principle for all our actions. The rich who arrived at the church potluck first with a basket full of food were to be considerate to the poor who came later.

PRAYER

Father, help us to forget ourselves and do all we can to meet the needs of others. In Jesus' name. Amen.