Friendly of Mind
Friendly of Mind
Words of Faith 7-11-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
1 Corinthians 11
 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.  If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.
It must have been difficult to try and clean up a church mess from a distance. Paul sought to shore up the church at Corinth by drawing them back to the meaning of the Lord's Supper and warning them about the danger of treating the Body casually. He concluded his directives concerning the Corinthian home church gatherings with a rather simple thought-- be courteous and we will keep working on this.
When you come together for the meal that remembers the Body and blood of Jesus, wait for each other. If you are really hungry, eat something at home. Don't make those who arrive late from work feel like they are second class. Be courteous.
The truth is that so many of the difficulties in Corinth came down simply to discourtesy. Some were discourteous because they did not consider those of weaker conscience and wanted their personal freedom to be above all things. Others were discourteous because they rushed ahead into the church meal when they knew others were arriving late. Some were just selfish and let their eating and drinking get out of hand. So Paul said, be courteous. Think about what you are doing. Remember what this is.
Then Paul closed with a very wise word-- "And when I come I will give further directions." In other words, "I probably haven't covered everything so let's continue to work on this together."
Paul was smart enough to realize that any directive he gave to the Corinthian church would probably need adjustment in the not too distant future. This church was growing and changing. They had new leaders and new members. There would be new and different concerns so he would bring even more advice when he came to visit again.
These same thoughts are helpful for us today.
Sometimes church people forget to be courteous. It is very easy for folks in the church to start thinking like the world, as the Corinthians did. The particular problem might not be the church supper but instead the way people act in the parking lot, or the choir room, or Sunday School Class, or a leadership meeting. People get used to thinking and acting in the world and that pattern comes into the church. Discourtesy creeps in.
The problem is nothing new.
Paul wrote to Titus to remind people "to be ready to do what is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men" (3:2).
James wrote that "the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" (3:17).
Peter wrote to believers-- "All of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble" (1 Peter 3:8) The word translated "humble" means courteous, kind or "friendly of mind". Be friendly of mind toward one another. Is that too much to ask? Be courteous in speech and action.
We also need to remember that we are each a work in progress. God is not done with any of us and the church is a work in progress as well. Our local congregations are works in progress. Some folks want everything to be perfected and every detail spelled out. But the truth is that believers will have to work together in order to discern and implement God's vision and will for His church.
Things will change. The things that worked at first probably won't work later on. Some of the planning and methods that once seemed so good won't always serve the needs of God. We are works in progress. God will direct us along the way. And as we go, be courteous.
Lord God, help me to be courteous today-- in my world, in my family and in my church. Help me to be friendly of mind toward others. Keep my mouth free from slander and my ears free from gossip. Help me to be considerate and to show true humility toward all people-- to be sympathetic and compassionate. Help me to remember that I am a work in progress and that Your church is, too. Give me patience with people that You are not finished with yet, including myself. Make me teachable as You continue to work in me. In Jesus' Name.