Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians 10:31

Evangelism and Physical Fitness: Hobbies and Rest

18 Oct

Hobbies can be one of the most effective ways to rest our bodies.  They provide us with avenues for developing secondary skills and interests, for maintaining physical fitness and mental acuity, and for cultivating relationships.  Drawing our attention away from present difficulties, they present us with the opportunity to return to the “real world” with a renewed perspective.

That there are many benefits to developing a hobby is undoubted, yet the very activities which help us to rest can also turn against us.  Before you begin integrating hobbies into your rest, take a moment to ask the following questions:

  1. Does this glorify God?  Believers should never turn off their sense of discernment – even when at rest.  1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  This doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything fun, but it does mean that we need to ensure the things we do for fun are in keeping with God’s commands.
  2. Does this hobby boarder on or has it already become an obsession?  Scripture teaches the importance of self-control in all things and this includes our recreational activities.  (1 Corinthians 9:25, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 1:5-7)  If a side interest begins to crowd out other obligations, it needs to be brought into submission or dropped altogether.
  3. Does this hobby encourage ungodly attitudes in me?  2 Timothy 2:22 advises believers to, “flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace…”  If your choice of recreation isn’t encouraging the godly attitudes listed here, it shouldn’t be on your list of pursuits!  (At the same time keep in mind that just because a certain hobby isn’t good for you doesn’t mean that it needs to be avoided by every Christian.  The same soccer game that leads to an abusive and overly competitive spirit in one believer can be genuinely relaxing and God honoring in the hands (or feet) of another!)
  4. Does this hobby actually result in rest?  Truth be told, not every hobby helps us to rejuvenate.  This doesn’t mean that we ought to chuck any hobby that doesn’t, just that we don’t include those activities in the time we’ve already scheduled for rest.

If you ask these questions about your hobby and the answer to each leaves you with a clear conscience, then feel free to include it in you “resting schedule”.

If the answer is “no”, it may be time to look for some other interests worth pursuing.  Ask a friend what they do to relax, take a look through the courses being offered by your local art association or community college, or just wander through a book store until you find a subject that peaks your interest.  You may be surprised at some of the unusual hobbies which present themselves!

Look at Me!

10 Oct

(The following excerpt is taken from “Retail Ready: 90 Devotions for Teens in the Workforce”, available for purchase on Kindle for $7.99 or in print from Amazon for $9.99.)

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
-1 Corinthians 10:31

I looked up as a member of the staff wandered discreetly over to my check stand. Glancing around, she leaned in towards me and rather quietly and whispered into my ear, “There’s a lady coming your way and she talks a lot!” She quickly described the woman to me, then grinned and informed me that she just thought she’d warn me.

I laughed, figuring that this customer was probably just one of those folks who particularly enjoys sharing their life with other people. I was wrong: this patron really enjoyed sharing her life with other people… and she did so in a very rapid, incoherent succession of words and thoughts.

As I listened to her, she told me all about everything she had done during the last four years of her life (or at least everything of note), carried on a one sided conversation with three different customers, and then proceeded to wander freely about the store talking to absolutely no one at all!

What made the whole episode truly amusing was that she would begin a conversation with one person and then walk away, talk to the air around her, come across another customer, and continue talking as if she had been speaking with that particular customer the whole time!

After she had checked out… twice… both times through my line… another staff member strolled over to me, “Sorry about that, I should have warned you about her and would have if I’d known she was here.” A few minutes later another employee came rushing in with a similar apology, “I was trying to get in here to warn you,” he said, “but I got tied up with another customer and couldn’t get free!” It seems that my customer was well known to everyone in the store and only for her ability to talk!

While I can’t honestly say anything bad about the lady (she was really rather sweet, just a little scattered), she did force me to consider my own life and who (or what) I spend all of my time talking about. Our customer had said some rather nice things about other people (and even complimented my outfit three times), but a majority of her monologue had been about herself. As Christians, however, our first concern should not be to draw attention to ourselves, but to our Master. We are told that anything and everything that we say and do should be to His glory. Our speech and actions should proclaim His glory, not our own!

Challenge: Does your conversations draw attention to yourself? To others? To God? As you go throughout your day, spend some time analyzing your dialogue. Are there ways that you can make it more Christ-centered? If there are, commit to act on these ideas!

The Two Minute Relationship: The Life of a Servant

25 May

Over the last few weeks, we’ve examined “What’s in a Name”, discussed the importance of taking the time to “Ask, Listen, and Observe”, and looked at the value of taking the time to “Relate” to those around us.  Before we dive into a discussion about how best to use these techniques as a springboard to a Gospel presentation, however, there is one more important element to discuss: the importance of living the life of a servant.

This falls into the silent witness category and, for many Christians, is the number one easiest way to begin a discussion.  While we can’t expect our actions alone to explain that Jesus saves, our actions can spark interest from the people around us.  And they may even cause them to ask us why we live the way we do!  Living the life of a servant isn’t always easy, so here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction:

Don’t be in a hurry.  It can be easy to get so caught up in finishing our grocery shopping or getting to that hot rock concert that we miss opportunities to be a Biblical servant.  Always be ready and willing to help someone in need, whether it’s the lady with three kids and a cart full of groceries who just can’t quite lift that bag of dog food or the boss who is crunched for a deadline.

Yes, this means that we need to carefully evaluate our own commitments.  It’s wonderful to be regularly involved in the life of your congregation, but it’s also easy to become so involved that we spend more time doing things for God than being available for Him to work through us!  And the same goes for every one of our other commitments.  Whenever something other than God begins to take over our lives, we need to stop and reevaluate.  Keep your schedule free and flexible and see what wonders God will perform!

Don’t wait to be asked.  If you see someone struggling to meet a need and you have the time and means to help, then do!  A single act of unsolicited kindness may be enough to form a relationship with someone who has experienced very little kindness in their life.  And repeated acts of kindness can help soften even the hardest of hearts.

Always be ready.  1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  And Colossians 3:23 commands, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”  This may, perhaps, be the greatest witness of all.  Everything you do and every interest you have can bring glory to God, even if it does so indirectly.  No hobby, sport, club, association, or after school activity comes without opportunities to live a life of service towards others.

A friend of mine used to play his guitar in a bagel shop every Saturday.  I’m aware that some Christians would not have considered this appropriate since, for the hour that he was there, he never once sang a Gospel song.  The name of Christ never exited his mouth.  He could have been doing dozens of other things, but instead, he was serving others through his music. Afterwards, people would come up to him and ask him why he did what he did.  You can be sure that his answer was all about Jesus!

Not every interest or hobby we have is going to show a direct connection to sharing God’s message, but each one provides us with an opportunity to relate to our fellow human beings. Remember that God created you a unique person and your interests and skills give you an opportunity to reach out in service to those who otherwise might never see the Gospel message in action!

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