Reading: Romans 14: 1-12
Verse 12: “Each of us will give an account of himself to God”.
“The Weak and the Strong”. In my Bible, that is the title of the section we are reading for today. Simply reading those words trigger an inner reaction doesn’t it? We think of those “strong” in the faith as those who we think are mature, who hold fast to God at all times… We think of those who are “weak” as those who seem to struggle with sin often, as those who don’t understand all the finer points and who do not quite get the insider language. We naturally think of “strong” as better and “weak” as something less.
Does someone who eats meat have a stronger faith than someone who does not? Or does the vegan have stronger faith? Are you holier or stronger in the faith if you go to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday or Wednesday? No, no, no! That is Paul’s point. Moving forward to today, a question would be: does it matter how you take communion? Are those who practice intinction (dipping the bread in the juice) somehow “ahead” of those using the little sealed cups that you have to peel the wafer and juice out of? We could also ask: does how and when you were baptized determine if you have strong or weak faith or even if you will enter heaven? If you were baptized into Jesus Christ matters. Being immersed versus sprinkled will not result in a better “room” in heaven. These and many more things would fall under the “disputable matters” found in verse one.
For Paul, what matters is if we “live to the Lord”. Paul correctly asserts, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God”. I think the basic questions we will answer for Jesus are something along these lines: Did you know me? Did you love God and neighbor above self? Were you striving to die to self and sin over and over again so that I could be Lord of your life?
Paul reminds us that Jesus died to be both the Lord of the living and the dead. For Christ to be our Lord when we’ve departed this earth, he must be Lord while we are on this earth. Each day may we answer these questions, “Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!” Day by day may we each bring God the glory.
Prayer: Lord, on those days when I want to be selfish and in control, when I am struggling with whose I am, gently enfold me in your love. In those moments when I begin to want to climb upon that throne, remind me that I belong on my knees, worshipping you alone. Help me, Lord, for I am weak. In you, I am strong. Lead me day by day to walk in your footsteps. Amen.