I took a bunch of student leaders on a leadership retreat one year. On our way to the place we were staying, I gave our young leaders the challenge of picking where would stop for lunch. I told them to pick a place that was best for the entire group. The vote was cast and word came back that they wanted Chick-fil-a. I told them it wasn’t best for the entire group. They came back and said Popeyes Chicken. Again, I said it wasn’t best for the group. They came back and said Churches Chicken. Again, I said it wasn’t best for the group. Finally, they were frustrated and asked why those places wouldn’t work? I asked one of the leaders why he didn’t share his allergies with the group? (He was allergic to chicken). He said he was willing to just eat fries or go without food… I shared that we were on a leadership retreat and that good leaders put the needs of others ahead of their own desires and wants. This time word came back for a place we could all eat and no one complained about not getting chicken. They realized the decision they made wasn’t to deny them chicken, but to provide a better lunch experience for their fellow leader.
1Corinthians 10:31 ESV So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
It’s easy to take this out of context and make it a verse about individuality. I did for several years. I thought all this verse meant was that in whatever I did, I should honor God and I should probably pray before each meal. However, the context that we have explored yesterday and today, reminds us that this verse doesn’t come from a context of individuality. It comes from a context of ‘how do we get along with one another when a brother or sister’s conscience is more sensitive to an issue than ours.’
We should glorify God in how we handle such trivial things as food and drink. It means that mature Christians should limit their freedoms for the sake of God’s glory. When facing a difficult decision, I used to ask myself, “How do I glorify God with this decision?” It has been helpful. That question could and should also be asked when it comes to dealing with a brother or sister who has a conscience who won’t let them participate in something that is not a sin.
Father, thank you for the liberties we have in Jesus Christ. Thank you for the opportunity to serve one another by limiting our liberties for the sake of fellowship. I pray you are glorified by our attitude of service when we love and serve one another in this way. In Jesus Name, Amen.