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Wait for One Anotherby Duane Mabee on June 2, 2022
Sometimes the “one another” commands seem quite general, with a lot of room for interpretation regarding how to implement them. For example, what it looks like to “love one another” or “offer hospitality to one another” can look very different from one situation to another. At other times, these commands can be very specific. Take 1 Corinthians 11:33-34 for example.
So then, my brothers [and sisters], when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment, (1 Cor 11:33-34 NIV).
A little context will be helpful. In 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Paul corrects the Corinthians’ sinful approach to Communion. In their day, the church would hold a fellowship meal along with the Communion service. They did receive the bread and the cup in somewhat the same way we do, but they also ate a meal together.
Unfortunately, because of the disrespect members had for each another, the wealthier members and those who considered themselves more important would show up before everyone else could get there. They would claim the best seats and eat the best food, if not all of it, before the others came. That left the poor members to literally go hungry, (see 1 Cor. 11:20-22). This was deeply wrong, and Paul had nothing good to say to them about it.
Fortunately, we would never treat each other that way, or would we? This command is an application of Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” (ESV) and 1 Corinthians 12:25 that “the members may have the same care for one another,” (NASB).
Church potlucks are a great place to watch peoples’ attitudes come out. Let’s just say the Corinthian attitude hasn’t completely died out.
Being concerned about the interests of others and having equal concern for all the believers works out in some very practical if not mundane ways like waiting for each other and making sure everyone is taken care of and served.
The next time you’re at a church potluck, do some self-evaluation. What does your approach to the food table say about your concern for other believers? There are few, if any, in our church who will go hungry if they don’t get to the front of the line and pile on as much food as they want. No one is likely to be worse off if they don’t get a piece of their favorite dessert or an oversized helping of the dish Miss ____ always brings. But our approach to the table can either build or chip away at our relationships. At a minimum, it demonstrates our attitude toward each other. Think about it.