Saturday, September 17, 2005

dont cause others to stumble

Had dinner at a friend's home the other day, something I always enjoy because the mom's cooking is such comfort food, the dad is always hilarious to talk to:)

Nope, today I ain't gonna talk about food. I've been thinking, eversince the dad mentioned something in passing, about the way Christians live and serve in and out of church. Let me give you 2 hypothetical scenarios:

  1. Z serves in a ministry in church on a regular basis, usually. However, there are a number of times when Z allows work to take first place i.e. when work and ministry events clash, work would definitely come first. This obviously results in some disgruntledness amongst others, because it shows that Z doesn't take ministry seriously, allowing service to church (even God) be done out of convenience.
  1. Y also serves in a ministry in church and also is a committee member at work. Y is very committed to ministry in church, often seen by others as a good steward (worker) of God. However, at work, Y is viewed, at times by others, to be incompetent in the committee i.e. not fulfilling the responsibilities required of Y. This also, leads to disgruntledness amongst Y's colleagues.

Now, I've given you examples of 2 extremes. One is very committed in work, but slackens in the area of church ministry; while the other is the stark opposite.

Who would you say is better? Most probably Y? Because Y is doing God's work faithfully? Or Z? because to Z's non-Christian friends, Z is a responsible worker and they know they can always count on Z?

Who would you think is the baddie? Z, because Z shows the friends that God takes 2nd place? Or Y, because Y is somewhat hypocritical, by showing, through actions that only "God's work" is important?

I ain't going to point accusing fingers, and neither should you, 'cause this is not my intention of blogging about this. I've come to one conclusion:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God -- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

` 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

I know it's not easy to strike a balance. I struggle too, to balance the so-called "God's work" and everything else that would fall under the category of "secular stuff". Often, I shall admit, that I find it more of a joy to do "God's work" because it seems more fulfilling.

But, after much thinking, and definitely after reading the verses in 1 Corinthians, I think it's pretty clear, and even wrong to categorize things into "God's work" vs "not God's work". 3 things I've learnt:

  1. As stated, "whatever I do, do it all for the glory of God". This is rather self-explanatory.
  1. Don't allow my actions to "cause anyone to stumble". In the 2 examples I gave, Z and Y would cause people to stumble. Christians, especially young ones, would think that it's ok to serve in ministry as and when it is convenient for them, after observing Z. Non-Christians would find Y hypocritical for choosing to devote time and effort only to church work, and as a result, find Christians, using Y as their example, to be a hypocritical bunch.
  1. I should "try to please everyone", not because I'm a people-pleaser; rather, do good "so that many would be saved". This sums it all up. Whatever I do, be it in church, vcf, school, home, with friends, in public, everywhere lah.. I should seek to live my life such that in whatever I do, my actions would bring people one step closer to God.

But, before I end, it's plain to see that this ain't easy. There would be instances where what I say about God would be incongruent with my actions. And for that, I'm human. I will try my best, with God's strength and grace. But if you really want to see someone who really walked his talk, go check out the Bible, and read the gospel of John. You won't be able to find faults in or with Him=D

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