We’re finally wrapping up this section today which really started in chapter 8. And Paul closes by really pinning down one of the key issues the Corinthians had, the issue of who they were living for. The issue of who they were trying to please.
It’s an issue many if not all Christians have to deal with today.
I have to admit, my “rights” are important to me. And when my rights are trampled on, I get upset. When I feel what is due me is taken from me, I get upset. It annoys me just to have someone cut in line in front of me, for goodness sake.
And then I think of how I deal with my wife, or coworkers, or the people at church. And it’s so easy to clamor for my rights. To demand what I think is “fair” and what I feel should be coming to me.
But the truth is, when that’s what we’re focusing on, it shows that the one person we are trying to please above all else is ourselves.
The “strong” Christians in Corinth were that way. They didn’t care that they were hurting their weaker brothers by the things they were eating. They didn’t care if it caused unbelievers to reject Christ if they ate meat sacrificed to idols. Why? It was their “right” to eat.
We’ll see this selfishness later in that they were making a mockery of the communion table by the way they treated their poorer brothers and sisters.
And the question Paul asked them, is “Who are you trying to please?
“Yes, everything is ‘permissible.’ You are free to eat whatever you want. But not everything is beneficial. And you are hurting those around you by your actions.”
Paul then said,
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. (24)
In other words, “Don’t make your what’s good for you paramount. Don’t make your rights and freedom the most important thing to you. Put others in front of yourself. If that means giving up food for the sake of your brothers or for the unbelievers, do it.”
Because ultimately, there is one person we should be pleasing. And it’s not ourselves. Who should we be pleasing? Paul makes it crystal clear.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (31)
How about you? In all that you do, who are you seeking to please?