Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so called-gods whether in the heavens or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 1 Corinthians 8:4-7

A collection of people are hard to lead. Why? All collections are composed of numerous groups. Even groups who are similar think and behave differently. In fact, it seems similar groups magnify their differences. Preferences become matters of correctness. The deeper the preferences, the more correct the preferences become. Thus, the more divergent the groups become. The end result: even similar people become unleadable.

Want a mess? Be a leader! A president, governor, corporate head, mayor, alderman, chairman, director—it matters not. There are always groups, and each group is certain it is correct. The joys of leading (they exist!) are not found in people’s preferences!

And we as a church think it is complex today? Early Christians did not agree on how many gods existed or how gods were honored. Ironically, the central issue was not the number of gods or how gods were honored. The beginning, the center, and the end of spirituality was this: Is your confidence placed in the resurrected Jesus Christ? Do you let who you are, what you do, and how you respect people be determined by Jesus Christ?

Christians could be wrong about the number of gods or how deity was honored, but they could not be wrong about Jesus’ identity. God may shake His head at our preferences. God never shakes His head at the person who shapes life and the use of life by Jesus Christ. Nether should we—whether we are young or old, conservative or progressive, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, experienced or inexperienced. The cotter pin that holds us together in our diversity is faith in the risen Jesus Christ. Lives given to Jesus Christ are worthy of respect—personal preferences aside! Do not shun Christians because of preferences! Our human preferences do not determine God’s focus!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 12 July 2009

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