If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. (1 Cor 10:27)
It is easy to overlook parts of Scripture that aren’t the main focus of a passage. This week Paul mentions eating at someone’s house and the focus is on what you do while there. If they serve meat, do you ask where it came from? But let’s not overlook something that, for the early Christian convert in Corinth, may have been taken for granted. These believers were new to the faith and in the small minority among the religions in their city, so surely they had relationships with those outside the faith. Because of this, it would not be unexpected for them to share a meal with the pagans in the community.
I bring that up because what was a basis for this question is something that is increasingly a non-issue for many Christians today. How often are you actually invited over for dinner by an unbeliever?
If not, or at least if you have hardly any interactions with non-believers, that is a problem. How are we to have a witness to be concerned about in the first place if there is no one around us to witnes to?
Recently I saw an article on Christianity Today that revealed some statistics that display how big a problem this is becoming. In the article, which you can read in its entirety here, it is reported that “one out of five non-Christians in North America doesn’t know any Christians.” That means 20 percent of the population, more than 13 million people, don’t personally know any Christians. How are they to hear of Christ? Do we assume here in the United States that they’ll just soak it in by osmosis? Christians need to be a people gathered, but not isolated. We gather to encourage each other, to worship, to be refreshed, and then we are sent. We need to see the “other”, a category Paul lifts up as deserving of our love, and seek them out.
Even if now you’re afraid of sharing your faith, let the first step at least be sharing a meal.
In this report, North America is categorized along the lines that the UN uses, which designates Mexico as Latin America. ↩