Vol.VII No.III Pg.4
May 1970

Respect Of Persons

Robert F. Turner

The Corinthians used the time of assembling (when ye come together in the church or congregation fn, AS, 1 Cor. 11:17-22) to satisfy their personal appetite. The thing done was out of place (have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?) and their inconsideration for others compounded the error. I think I have seen the same error committed, repeatedly, in present day assemblies — with not a morsel of food in sight.

One is hungry, and another is drunken. Some say the word drunken does not necessarily mean intoxicated but rather having partaken. In either case, it shows inconsideration for a brother or sister in Christ, and this is my point. Repeatedly I have stood at the back of a building. just before worship, and have been able to spot those who are hungry for association and attention — while inconsiderate brethren enjoy a last - minute social visit, and then settle at one anothers side for worship. With the closing amen! these brethren resume their visits with close friends, and the hungry ones, no part of the inner circle, gather their belongings and slip quietly and sadly away.

Some reply, We are assembled to worship God, not for social visits. These people should be satisfied with the purely Christian fellowship. Well, that is all they are getting, and if they come again it would seem they find it satisfying. I wonder how many of the visiting circle would continue to come if they were given such limited personal reception. And, are we not assuming that friendly conversation with these lonely ones must be of a purely social nature? If we have so much in common IN CHRIST, is there no place for conversation relative to spiritual matters?

Let us not deceive ourselves. We are the ones who are feeding on personal and social association. I am aware that all public gatherings have some social aspects; and often the separate ones are poorly orientated to society — they separate themselves and hurry from, the building, or huddle in a corner with little to say. If we act selfishly, love only the lovely, we will pass them by for social contacts more to our taste. Perhaps this sort of selfishness caused the Corinthians to seek so—called social and economic equals, and take before other his own supper. It may also have moved James to write. Have not the faith... with respect of persons. (Read Jas. 2: 1-f)

When we gather to worship God what better time could we find to practice unselfish love and regard for all the saints. Here is a new convert, in new and different surroundings, embarrassed, uncertain, feeling alone. You may, indirectly, save a soul from drifting and death by simply sitting next to this person, showing genuine sympathy and concern, making him or her feel truly a part of this church. A formal handshake and Welcome! at the time of their baptism is NOT enough.

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. .. (1 Pet. 3: 8-f) Think awhile!