Saturday, 18 October 2014
Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. 1 Corinthians 10:24
The words used by Paul here are still given in relation to food which has been sacrificed to idols, but they form a general principle for any debatable issue. He has already revealed that an idol is nothing, and he has also shown that participating in the sacrifice to an idol aligns a person with that idol and with those who sacrifice to it (even though the idol is nothing). He has shown a distinction between the meat and the ritual, but some may not perceive that distinction. They may tie to the two together in their thought process and come to an incorrect conclusion concerning the eating of such meat.
In order to avoid such a stumbling-block in a person like this, Paul will continue to give words for us to consider. Remember, these words follow a general principle even though he is discussing a particular issue. In the end, love should be the first consideration as we conduct our actions before others.
As a side note, the word “well-being” is inserted for clarity, but it is a good choice of wording. Other versions say “good,” “welfare,” “advantage,” and so on. The olde King James Version says “wealth.” When it was written, it meant more than what wealth means today and it implied a general sense of well-being. However, as times go by, words evolve and they no longer carry the same signification they once did. This is why it’s always good to check with multiple versions and not get myopically fixed on one translation lest misunderstandings arise.
Life application: When we seek out our own well-being first, it is inevitable that others will receive less esteem than they should. It is impossible to exalt ourselves above others while exalting others above ourselves. Thus, we should walk in humility and defer honor to those around us. As the Lord says, “…whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king
And do not stand in the place of the great
For it is better that to your ear he sing
“Come up here to a higher position, good mate!
Humility is a noble and dignified trait
And something which is highly esteemed by the Lord
In due time He will exalt you, so patiently wait
Until the day when He speaks to you a goodly word
Be patient and walk in a humble way
Exalt others and do not your own esteem hunt for
By doing so you will receive His favor some wondrous day
When you are brought through heaven’s open door
Lord Jesus, help me to be good to those around me and to place others above myself. I know Your word asks me to do this, but my human nature often gets in the way. Keep me from a boasting heart and the desire to stand above others. Instead, grant me humility and kindness to those I come in contact with. I know with this You will be well-pleased. Amen.