I Corinthians 11:18-19 ESV
I Corinthians 11:27-29 ESV
I Corinthians 11:22 AMP
I Corinthians 10:13 ESV
While the phrase, “Oh, Fiddlesticks!” can be an expression of just about anything, it generally means we’re frustrated about something in particular.
I’m not exactly sure where, but I remember hearing, “Oh, fiddlesticks!” a lot growing up in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I knew it was a sign of frustration.
In I Corinthians 11:18-19 the Apostle Paul wrote, “when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.”
Paul was making a point as he prepared to teach them about their attitudes when they received the Lord’s Supper.
He cautioned them in I Corinthians 11:27-29 that, “whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and the blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
Paul’s frustration was a call to action by the church.
He recognized the factions that existed and he wanted them to SEE the root cause of their divisions. According to I Corinthians 11:19, he believed by recognizing the cause they would see the result. Paul wanted the church to recognize there are those in the body who are genuinely concerned for everyone, which included the poor.
The Amplified Bible says in I Corinthians 11:22, “do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those (impoverished believers) who have nothing? What will I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? In this I will not praise you!”
This was really really an “oh fiddlesticks” moment for Paul. He could see that there were factions who were living the ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ life without any regard for the principles Jesus taught. He was frustrated because they were play acting.
Paul knew if the church didn’t recognize and honor the ‘least’ among them they were only pretending to care.
He also knew that could ultimately bring harm to the body of the church. In I Corinthians 10:13 Paul had written, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Paul promised us that God is faithful and even when we are tempted God will provide a way to help us. He wanted them to trust God with their resources and their attitudes.
By listening and turning when we hear God calling we are given a way to include everyone.
We are given a way. We are all given a way. There is a way.
But…there once was a man (wo-man) who had two faces.
With one face on he wore clean clothes and his best clean shoes.
When he went to church to see his friends and he said everything they expected to hear.
He sat still and listened to the words that were spoken and he knew exactly when to shake his head in all the right places.
He knew how to behave and without missing a beat he ‘fit’ in just like he was expected. He thought about caring for the poor.
When he went home he was proud that he did everything right.
Then later when he was at home alone he ate and drank whatever he wanted.
He was grateful that he had ‘plenty’. He didn’t think about those who sat at home with their hungry children. They had the same measure of food and drink that he had, but there were many mouths to feed.
He forgot about them.
For our friend with two faces, God was continually calling to him but he didn’t hear. Even so, God continued to call.
It’s no wonder the Apostle Paul was frustrated and wanted to warn to stop and listen for God’s call.
And so at times, I feel like I am that man (wo-man).
I remember a time when I didn’t know how to listen. Then even after I knew how to listen I would forget. Even now at times I forget to pause ‘life’ and I do not listen.
The good news is that even when I forget and even when we forget, God is faithful and God never forgets us. Day and night, night and day God’s love for us is faithful.
God calls out to us.
God calls to us.
Spiritual Practice: Listen
Take time today to listen to God.
In God, Deborah