1 Samuel 27; 1 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 6; Psalm 44

Last month B.J. and I left our kids with my parents in Minnesota for two extra days while we headed home and started back to work. It’s been a long time since we spent that much time, just the two of us, without kids.  We drove 10 hours home, then spent most of Sunday together going to church and watching the Summer Olympics.  It was a good day.  By evening, I sat down next to him on the couch and grinned as I said, “Well, I think this is a glimpse of what an empty nest is going to feel like in a few years.  Are you still with me for the long haul?”  He smiled and nodded.

Three weeks later, B.J. had his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) replaced. He is doing well, but has spent the better part of this week on the couch because he can’t get around all that easily.  While I’m anxious for him to feel good (and to stop making a mess of my house), I admit that I have secretly enjoyed taking care of him.

By now, you may be wondering how these stories are connected. Here it is – they are both about love.  I love him.  I love doing the mundane things like driving 10 hours in a car with him.  I love helping him recover from surgery.  Making sure he is comfortable, making sure he takes his medication, making sure everything he needs is within reach before I leave him alone – food, water, medication, T.V. remote, iPad, computer and phone.  It has been 29 years since our first date and 22 years since we got married.  A lot has changed during that time.  We’ve had our ups and downs, but I love him as much today as I did when I married him in 1994.

Yesterday, Jon shared with us the beautiful message he spoke at his sister-in-law’s wedding a few years ago. It reflects the principles for marriage we read in Chapter 7 of 1 Corinthians.  Did you realize our scripture today, Chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians, is also about love?  The heading – Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols – sounds like it is about guidance on what food is permissible to eat or about freedom in Christ.  While both are correct, 1 Corinthians 8 is really about love.  Under Old Testament law, the Israelites were forbidden to eat food sacrificed to idols.  In the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 8:1 is pretty clear that eating, or not eating, certain things will not bring us closer to God.  Thus, we have freedom to choose what we eat.  However…

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up (1 Corinthians 10:23).

As Christ followers, we are no longer bound by Old Testament law. We have the freedom to choose – all things are lawful.  But our choices may cause someone else to stumble – not all things are helpful.  The question is, do we love others enough to sacrifice our freedom to help someone else?  Are we willing to sacrifice what we want in order to build another up?  This is love.

…“knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1).