RESPECT

My grandpa rarely reprimanded his grandkids; but on one occasion, he had to take control of breakfast table situation quickly.  My cousins and I were spending time at Grandpa and Grandma’s farm as we did often.  We loved coming to the farm with all the experiences of feeding the animals, going fishing, riding horses, wandering over many acres of land while enjoying a bit of freedom from our parents. We loved and honored our grandparents but also felt we could get by with less than perfect behavior.  We took advantage of our grandparents’ unconditional love.  I admit it. 

At the breakfast table the first morning of our visit, our set-free attitudes developed into loud, obnoxious talking, competing for the attention of our grandparents (who were already listening), trying to be the funniest while being a little sloppy with our manners. (Okay, a LOT sloppy with our manners!) Then it happened.  The thing that crossed the line.  My oldest cousin told a hilarious (to us) story that made his younger sister choke on her oatmeal sending a spray of this half-eaten concoction across the table to land on our faces in disgust.  We laughed and cried loudly, shouting “Eww!”.  Grandpa took control and have us a “look” I would never forget.  Silence followed. Then I saw the twinkle in Grandma’s eyes of immediate forgiveness while she cleaned up the mess.  The meal continued with smiles but with much more respect.

We had crossed the line of honor and respect for the meal Grandma worked hard to prepare that morning.  We settled down to what we knew was right and learned quickly that respect is giving honor to the one who loves and serves you, takes care of you and provides for all that is in front of you.  My grandparents, by example, ultimately taught us that all honor goes to God, the Provider of all that we need.

In our next passage, Paul must step in and teach the wild and crazy Corinthians to settle down, leave worldview thinking and divisive, disrupting behaviors aside, and learn better manners while observing the Lord’s Supper.  They had forgotten WHY they were gathering in the first place.  They had forgotten the One who died for their sins.  The church gathered to eat, drink and be merry in a brawl for the ages, worse than my oatmeal experience!  Honor and respect were nowhere to be seen.  Paul steps in with the “look” (I can feel it) and a reminder of what Jesus expects and deserves as we remember His act of grace.

CORINTHIANS—CALLED AND SENT

1 Corinthians 11, The Message

To Honor God

1-2 It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you. All actual authority stems from Christ.

3-9 In a marriage relationship, there is authority from Christ to husband, and from husband to wife. The authority of Christ is the authority of God. Any man who speaks with God or about God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of Christ, dishonors Christ. In the same way, a wife who speaks with God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of her husband, dishonors her husband. Worse, she dishonors herself—an ugly sight, like a woman with her head shaved. This is basically the origin of these customs we have of women wearing head coverings in worship, while men take their hats off. By these symbolic acts, men and women, who far too often butt heads with each other, submit their “heads” to the Head: God.

10-12 Don’t, by the way, read too much into the differences here between men and women. Neither man nor woman can go it alone or claim priority. Man was created first, as a beautiful shining reflection of God—that is true. But the head on a woman’s body clearly outshines in beauty the head of her “head,” her husband. The first woman came from man, true—but ever since then, every man comes from a woman! And since virtually everything comes from God anyway, let’s quit going through these “who’s first” routines.

13-16 Don’t you agree there is something naturally powerful in the symbolism—a woman, her beautiful hair reminiscent of angels, praying in adoration; a man, his head bared in reverence, praying in submission? I hope you’re not going to be argumentative about this. All God’s churches see it this way; I don’t want you standing out as an exception.

17-19 Regarding this next item, I’m not at all pleased. I am getting the picture that when you meet together it brings out your worst side instead of your best! First, I get this report on your divisiveness, competing with and criticizing each other. I’m reluctant to believe it, but there it is. The best that can be said for it is that the testing process will bring truth into the open and confirm it.

20-22 And then I find that you bring your divisions to worship—you come together, and instead of eating the Lord’s Supper, you bring in a lot of food from the outside and make pigs of yourselves. Some are left out, and go home hungry. Others have to be carried out, too drunk to walk. I can’t believe it! Don’t you have your own homes to eat and drink in? Why would you stoop to desecrating God’s church? Why would you actually shame God’s poor? I never would have believed you would stoop to this. And I’m not going to stand by and say nothing.

23-26 Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,

This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.

After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:

This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.

What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.

27-28 Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe.

29-32 If you give no thought (or worse, don’t care) about the broken body of the Master when you eat and drink, you’re running the risk of serious consequences. That’s why so many of you even now are listless and sick, and others have gone to an early grave. If we get this straight now, we won’t have to be straightened out later on. Better to be confronted by the Master now than to face a fiery confrontation later.

33-34 So, my friends, when you come together to the Lord’s Table, be reverent and courteous with one another. If you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to be served, go home and get a sandwich. But by no means risk turning this Meal into an eating and drinking binge or a family squabble. It is a spiritual meal—a love feast.

The other things you asked about, I’ll respond to in person when I make my next visit.

WHAT DO WE LEARN? WHO WE HONOR AND RESPECT—

All authority comes from Jesus, who is Head of the Church (all gathered believers).  His authority comes from God, our Creator, who created all, is in all, knows all and loves all.

We dishonor Him when we divide, criticize, compare and compete with each other.  

We are disrespectful when we come to His Table with sin in our hearts, unforgiveness of others, selfish thinking while spewing “oatmeal” of gossip and slander that divides the Body of Christ.

The Body of Honor and Respect is Jesus, Savior and Lord.  Worth reading again…

Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,

This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.

After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:

This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.”

Camp on these words—”Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death”.

How?  “Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe”.

“So, my friends, when you come together to the Lord’s Table, be reverent and courteous with one another.”

“It is a spiritual meal—a love feast.”  It is a “full of Christ meal”, not of ritualistic routine but a meal of obedience, remembrance with hearts of gratitude, full of love, honor and respect for the One and Only who loves us most and gave His life for ours.  We show respect for Him when we respect and honor each other not only at His Table but in our daily lives.  At the beginning of each new day, come to Communion with Jesus at His Table of Grace, then do what He taught us—Love God, Love Each Other.

Lord,

Thank you for all you have done, are doing to teach us now and what you will do as you move us through each learning experience to maturity of your love because of your never-ending mercy and marvelous grace.  I love you with all my heart, mind and soul.  I give you all honor, praise and respect!

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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