Wednesday After Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity Romans 14:1-12
WEDNESDAY AFTER THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
None of us lives to himself.
Should I take care of my brother? Maybe we remember Cain's stubborn and negative answer. It's the old Adam's attitude to his fellow man. What do I have to do with him? He should take care of himself.
This is the complete opposite to what God wants. None of us lives for himself. None of us can renounce responsibility for someone else. We're all together. I must take care of my brother. I'll do it because Christ has taken care of me. If I'm a Christian, I live for Christ. I live through Him only because He cared for me, died for me, baptized me, dwells with me, and therefore I can be a child of God. I'm a member of His body, and members can't live alone. They live through the body and for the body. That's how I live for the Lord; in joy and thanksgiving over the fact that He is who He is.
I also live for the other members, however. If a member suffers, the other members suffer with it. You can't be indifferent to what happens with the members of Christ. That's why we have to take care of our brother.
In this chapter, Paul gives us an example of this. It's about the same kind of problem we see in 1 Corinthians. The were different opinions about several external things. Some were more careful and wanted to rigorously cut off anything that could be conceived as temptation. They refrained from freedom in an effort to avoid abusing it. They avoided wine. They avoided meat. They refused to work on certain days that could be considered holy. We probably would've call them decisive and strict. Paul calls them weak because he sees everything from a candid faith's view. The strong, as he considers himself, are those with such faith that they can use their freedom without abusing it.
In this case Paul calls upon us to neither judge nor scorn. A person who is convinced that all this is allowed should not look down upon someone who is in doubt, and someone who prefers to abstain should not judge someone who does otherwise. They belong together. They belong to the same Lord. Whatever they do, they do for His sake, some out of gratitude for His great gifts, others out of love that willingly sacrifices everything so they won't lose sight of Him. And they all will meet Him some day, when each of them will have to account for themselves.
Dear Lord Jesus, this must mean that You don't want me to control my brother. Is that only a form of selfishness? A way to uphold myself? Instead, You want me to take care of him when he really needs my help. I can do something for him so he can receive it as a gift from You. Help me to see so clearly and love so sincerely that I go about Your business and not my own. Teach me to see what You alone want to take care of, You who see if someone stands or falls, and help me to willingly and gladly take care of the things You've left for us to care of. Help me to never close my eyes and pass by when that moment arises. Your will be done. Amen.