News Articles

FIRST-PERSON: New lumps for the new year

DORA, Ala. (BP)–The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5, chastises the Corinthian church because of their acceptance of a blatantly immoral man among their members. Paul tells them: “… Shouldn’t you … have been filled with grief and … put out of your fellowship the man who did this?” (v. 2). Paul wanted the church, the corporate body of believers, to understand that though they were to love sinners (just as all of them -– and us –- were merely sinners saved by grace), they were never to embrace or ignore believers’ sins.

Fact is, all transgression hinders us from the true freedom found only when we are in right fellowship with Christ. Since each one who claims His name stands as His representative in this world, how are we to conduct ourselves? Are we to gossip? Are we to backbite? What about sarcasm? None of these things pleases our Heavenly Father, nor do these things further His Kingdom here on earth.

Yet one of the greatest sins running rampant among the people of God is the sin of busyness -– we’re so busy “gettin’ while the gettin’s good.” We take time to go to work at our secular jobs, but do we take time to witness while we’re on the job? Many of us take plenty of time and money to have our hair done, nails done, even facials and massages, but do we take time to participate in worship or to attend classes that help us understand and draw closer to the Creator of the universe? Too, how financially generous are we with others when we are so very liberal with ourselves?

There are oodles of us who have the time and money to go out and discover new eateries and stuff ourselves with good food, but do we offer the time or money to help feed the hungry? And when we’ve had enough of our overindulgence, we can afford to pay others to help us stay away from the table through weight loss programs, exercise and medical plans -– but do we use any of God’s blessings to meet the multiplicity of needs among those less fortunate than ourselves?

In the midst of this fiery chapter concerning the immorality within the church, Paul admonishes the believers to clean up their acts. Before Paul concludes with, “Expel the wicked from among you” (v. 13), a quote from Old Testament teachings, he warns the church about being prideful and about dealing with the clutter in their lives. Sexual immorality and busyness: you mean either sin is displeasing to God? Most certainly.

Paul said that followers of Jesus Christ are to be “… bread without yeast,” which he went on to explain means we are to be “… the bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). We are to sincerely and truthfully seek to be like Jesus, who most assuredly put others before Himself.

If we’re honest, most of us are packed with the “yeast” of busyness. Our lives are so overfilled that we are barely able to go through our daily routines. We’re constantly tired, stressed and, in general, unhappy. And when our lives are like this, we can’t enjoy our own company, let alone be a blessing to someone else.

So be honest. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as “I can’t juggle one more thing,” how crammed-full is your life? Maybe it’s time to sit down and make a list of all your responsibilities and “busynesses” and see which ones can be eliminated or better managed.

In verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 5, Paul warns the church “… to get rid of the old yeast [leaven], that ye may be a new lump.” I don’t know about you, but I know there are a lot of “busy” things in my life. As the year 2005 begins, the time for Christ’s return draws ever closer. Let’s re-commit our cluttered lives to the Lord and ask Him to show us how to become brand new “lumps” for His glory!
Judy Woodward Bates is the creator of Bargainomics, a Bible-based time and money management philosophy, and the author of “The Gospel Truth about Money Management.” Visit her website at www.bargainomics.com.

    About the Author

  • Judy Woodward Bates