Lenten Meditation-1 Corinthians 8:1
81Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
Puffed up; isn’t that our society? What society ever had more knowledge than us? We have vast amounts of it. Far more than any one person could ever assimilate. So with all that knowledge, we educate ourselves by skimming a little off of the top of everything. We know a little about science, a little about politics, a little about psychology, a little about religion and on and on. When we do specialize in our work life, it tends to become so focused that we end up knowing a bunch about a very little bit.
Even with all our knowledge or maybe because of it, our society lacks something that is much deeper. It lacks the deep waters of wisdom, deep wisdom. Skimming the surface is not enough. Wisdom requires a total immersion into our creative mind and the creative mind of God. God for whom all things and for whom we exist creates constantly and is the source of deep wisdom. It flows out of God into all of creation. I believe that this is the love that Paul speaks of. This is the love that builds up.
Full immersion into God requires an effort to know God through everything we do. Not only must we spend more time studying God’s word, but we must acknowledge God in every task, every bit of knowledge, every act of creating that we seek to achieve. It is much harder in our age, possibly, than in any other time in history. Our idols are no longer as clean-cut. We no longer leave food offerings. We believe that we have progressed beyond the peasants of the past. Our idol, now, is our narcissistic culture. It is a self-worshiping culture that believes God is no longer needed. Our food is the skimmed bits of knowledge that we eat just enough of to create doubt. We call ourselves Christians, but we are accustomed to this idol of self-worship and we are losing our deep wisdom in God.
6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
We are puffed up. Puffed up, because we are weak in our deep wisdom. As Christians, we know a few thing, but we know very few. So when we eat the other bits of knowledge from the idol of self-worship, we are reminded of how much we think man has progressed and we are defiled.
That was why Paul was rebuking those who had deep wisdom in Christ. He wanted to help the new Christians. Today our children are the new Christians. Each and every generation of new Christians must follow the example of their elders. What happens when the elders never truly know Christ? That is where we are in this society. The deep wisdom is succumbing to our weak conscience. We have worshiped ourselves through too many generations. God is no longer in our every day tasks and accomplishments. God is being entombed within the individual as simple bits of knowledge. No more than the other bits of food we offer to our other idol. Christianity is being water down. Soon all that will be left of it will no longer be a strong force for good in our society.
We must return to the wisdom of Paul. We need to set the example. We need to immerse ourselves in our creative mind. We must infuse God into everything that we do and think. We must return to the deep wisdom that we have lost. This is a Herculean task for any age. But for us it borders on impossible. Our society has become so self-loving can we save ourselves. As Jesus said:
24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 26But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’ (Matthew 19:24-25)