Phyllis Duffy, along with her husband Joe, were long time members of Brackenhurst Baptist Church. They have both died and are now in the presence of the Lord. Those of us who knew them miss them and their ministry. Others also have missed them, such as the hungry in their community.
Phyllis once told me that she never said no to anyone who came to her door in need of food. She would never give money, but she would always give food. She told me, “Doug, I don’t know why they need food. Maybe they are hungry because of foolish and even sinful decisions. Regardless, I assume the Lord sent them to me.” I thought about her today as, once again, hungry people showed up at our gate. One of them shows up several times a week and methinks he is telling others about our stash.
The second time the doorbell rang, I must say, my first response was not one I am proud of. I felt annoyed. But then with the help of my family, I got over myself and we helped a hungry lady get some protein for the day.
As she left, I thought about the words of Paul to the Corinthian church, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). I had just eaten lunch; I don’t believe I glorified God.
How does one do this? Of course, having a grateful heart for the food is a big factor in this. But the context must inform us of Paul’s meaning. And the context (chapters 8–10) is that of considering others.
Many in that church had been converted out of pagan idolatry, which included the ritual practice of offering food and drink to idols. Therefore, many of these new converts’ consciences were conflicted abut consuming such food and drink. Paul knew that to consume this food and drink was not a sin (vv. 23–30; cf. 8:1–13). But something bigger was at stake: the spiritual welfare of others. Quite literally, Paul was instructing others, “Think about others when you eat and drink.Don’t eat or drink if it will offend your fellow Christian. In this way, by considering others in your eating and drinking, you will glorify rather than grieve God.”
Now, I am aware that feeding the hungry is not what Paul had on his mind. But he was concerned that Christians think about others when we eat and drink. When my doorbell rang today, just after I had enjoyed a hearty lunch, I was notthinking of others. And my response did not glorify God.
I am not suggesting that to honour God we should feel guilty about having food. After all, our Father has promised to give us our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). No, what I am saying is that, when we consider our groceries, we should be grateful, which should make us generous. As we see ourselves as stewards of God’s goods, we can eat and drink—and share from what we eat and drink—to the glory of God. Thinking of others, with a willingness to serve others while we serve ourselves another helping of food, can go a long way toward preparing us to be a blessing of others. So, when your doorbell rings, think of Phyllis, who understood her privilege to serve her Lord by serving others. Better yet, think of Jesus Christ who “came not be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Learning with you,