Being Called Out

4.26.23 Devo Image

“In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter.”—1 Corinthians 11:17–22 (NIV)

Did you ever get called to the principal’s office? Chills run down your spine because you know you must be in trouble. Maybe your dad grounded you and took away your privileges and made you do extra chores because you were out past curfew. Or what about hearing your mom call you by your first AND middle name! I’m not sure there’s anything worse. Being disciplined is hard, but it’s necessary for growth, and that’s exactly why Paul writes these few verses.

The Corinthian Christians were not acting like a unified Church. There were divisions, disagreements, and arguments among them. They were gathering for the Lord’s supper and bringing other types of food, making a whole feast out of something that should be sacred and revered. They were being exclusive, selfish, and ignoring those in need. Paul is calling all of that out. You can almost hear his tone of voice in verse 22; it’s the same tone as your principal, or your dad, or your mom. You’d better listen to what they’re saying!

I wonder if Paul were alive today, what would he call out about the Church? There still are divisions among denominations and even within congregations. Some churches don’t honor what should be kept sacred. Some are isolated and don’t ever think about those in need. Some completely ignore biblical standards of living and look so much like the world. 

The reason Paul is calling the Corinthians out here is because there’s a certain standard required as the Church. The Church is what God uses to show His character and love to an unbelieving world. God established order and guidelines for the Church and in Christians because He’s a God of order, He’s holy, and He expects the same of His followers. If you read through the first five books of the Bible, you can see just how much God loves order, how holy He is, and how much He cares about details. If we’re divided, how effective can we be? If there’s sin among its members, how much different is the Church from the world? If Christians only thought about themselves and not those in need, how much influence would they have? 

To quote Brennan Manning, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Jesus taught us that we will be known by our love. The best way to show God’s character to the world is to put on love. Love binds everything in unity and harmony. Only love will remain. God is love. Let’s make the unbelieving world want to believe in Jesus!

Pause: Take a moment to reflect on your lifestyle. Would a nonbeliever acknowledge Christ in you by the way you live? Do you reflect love and unity, or do you have strong opinions and preferences and tend to disagree with everyone?

Practice: Demonstrate love today. Text a friend you need to reconcile with. Buy someone’s coffee behind you in line. Ask God to show you how you can love someone in need today.

Pray: Jesus, I thank You for showing me what real love is. Thank You for sacrificing Your life so I can be free. Thank You for Your grace to try again even when I’ve made mistakes. Help me to reflect love, unity, and kindness to a world in need. Help me to lay aside my preferences and seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness first. Let the Church reflect You to the community and world they live in. Amen.

About the Author

Denise Trio

Denise Trio has been on staff with Calvary for almost two years, serving as the Director of Strategic Development. She has 10 years of project management experience, with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Engingeering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. When not on campus, Denise is either making her way through her book list at the beach, ordering tacos on any menu that serves them, or running her side business, The Rose Creative, which specializes in creating beautiful and meaningful products for her clients.