This morning we wrapped up our study on happiness and it really got me thinking. The thesis statement for today was basically that in order for us to be happy we need to be willing to give of ourselves. We need to pour out into the world our gifts and talents so that they may be used. When we hoard things and time thinking it will make us happy it generally doesn’t go well.
If you think about it often times we are happiest when we are serving others. When we engage in society and really help to make this world a better place. Our group had great discussion around this idea and then went home. Well more accurately I went for lunch where I feasted on a bowl of Kale Soup and enjoyed every bite. Afterwards I came home and started to sink into the text for the week and was met with this:
“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:9-13
This turned me right back into thinking about happiness and service and what it means to live as a Christian in this world. Think about it a little. Paul says whatever causes distress to a new Christian, don’t do. No matter if it you know better. Don’t do things that would lead others astray.
How convicting this can be for all of us I would think.
The world we live in right now (an apparently in Paul’s time) seems to value individual rights and experiences over others. But what if our experience, our choice impacts others? What happens when what we do leads someone else into something that is not good for them?
I know we don’t eat meat sacrificed to idols anymore. I don’t even eat meat at all so I’m definitely in the clear meat wise but what are the idols in our lives today? What do we do with our iPhones and Netflix and money and status that could or would turn others away from God in their lives? How can we live in such a way that we support people as they develop in faith? In what way can we give, give up or out so that people know they matter more than our personal experience or desires?
Questions to ponder I’m sure as I continue service prep but good ones in general I think…