"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
Many years ago, we had our friend Nadean over for dinner. Usually, we check to see if someone has any food allergies or any particular dislikes, but for some reason, we failed to do so this time. I can't remember what we made for an entree, but I remember the appetizer was coconut encrusted shrimp, and the dessert was my mom's recipe for an oatmeal cake, which has a glazed coconut topping. You guessed it; we discovered Nadean doesn't like coconut. She kindly ate around the coconut, politely complimented the cook, and thanked us for dinner. That story has been a sense of amusement for all of us over the years.
The early church also experienced some learnings about diets. Most of Christ's first followers adhered to the dietary restrictions of the Law. As the Good News spread, there arose many questions about what could be eaten and under what circumstances. Paul, in brief, said it doesn't matter. The only time it makes a difference is if someone tells you it was part of a sacrifice to an idol, don't eat, but if you don't know, then eat. Don't let what you eat and drink, or don't eat and drink, separate you from each other. More importantly, whatever you do, let it be for God's glory.
There are some pretty silly reasons we allow ourselves to be separated from each other today. Like the early church, we get caught up in our biases and beliefs and lose track of the larger picture; we are all part of the human family. I'm not saying there aren't times where we need to hold fast. Sin is sin, and we need to stand our ground when we know something is wrong. But much of the time, the things that we allow to come between us don't matter. Instead, let's set aside those differences, and whatever we do, do it for God’s glory.
Our compassionate and loving God, we come before you today with our thanks and praise. We acknowledge we sometimes get hung up on things that don't matter and allow them to separate us. We come today, seeking your forgiveness. Help us to focus more on those things where we are alike than how we are different. May all of the actions we take have only one purpose, to glorify you. In Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.