Maximum Availability: Make Every Effort to Pursue, Promote Peace and Mutual Edification. Romans 14:19-21

Romans 14:19-21Amplified Bible

19 So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth]. 20 Do not, for the sake of food, tear down the work of God. All things indeed are [ceremonially] clean, but they are wrong for the person who eats and offends [another’s conscience in the process]. 21 It is good [to do the right thing and] not eat meat or drink wine or do anything that offends your brother, and which weakens him spiritually.

Romans 14:19-21The Message

19-21 So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Do not eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

From one of those many “feel good” stories I receive on my Facebook feed.

“Yesterday my young son and went to the local Animal Shelter. I adopted the oldest, sickest, and sorest shelter dog. I’ll never forget his eyes. When I went into the cage he didn’t even bother to look, he knew I wouldn’t even see him.

Curling around the corner He’d accepted his fate. The volunteer said to me many times… Are you sure this one? Are you sure? He was abandoned six months ago. Many have looked at him. YES! This is our dog. He opened the cage and the other dogs fell on me. I ran towards that old and sullen dog as he cowered in the corner shaking and shivering, suddenly he looked at me as if he saw an angel… I hugged him and told him now; he will be happy again. Now, he sleeps in my son’s lap… probably the first peaceful sleep he ever had.”

On a nearby wall of the animal shelter hung an old sign:

“Give it a life. Give it a hug. They need all of us all of the time.”

“From a dad and his son who just saved a lost soul.

Make every Effort to Pursue Peace and Mutual Edification—Romans 14:19

“Make every effort!”

“Make every effort???”

“Make every effort to do the minimum with the maximum amount of effort.”

“Make every effort to do the maximum with the minimum amount of effort.”

Those statements present our 2o22 representation of alleged “Christianity,” quite the significant personal and corporate (meaning our church) challenge.

“Make every effort …!”

But notice where that exertion is to be focused: peace and mutual edification.

Both sides of this exhortation are two-way responsibilities.

I must pursue and share peace if I am going to have it myself.

I must edify, be open to being edified, if mutual edification is going to happen.

In other words, we live with other people in God’s family.

He wants us to be responsible for making relationships work in our spiritual family.

He reminds us it will require strenuous effort.

But isn’t that true in every family relationship?

Love means sacrifice, effort, and concern for others. When we all share our love willingly, however, we are much more likely to see blessings coming back to us!

Instead of taking this “maximum effort with maximum effect” seriously, what have we instead accomplished with the minimum effort with maximum effect?

DIVISION – “US versus THEM” IRRECONCILABLE MINUTIAE – CHASMS –

Mind the Chasm ….

Make the effort to “mind the chasm” ….

Make every effort to “mind the chasm!”

Make the effort to Mind the Chasm with the maximum amount of effort ….

With maximum effort, “Mind the chasm” between God and HIS Neighborhood.

With minimum effort, “Mind the chasm” between God and HIS Neighborhood.

With maximum effort, “Mind the chasm” between God’s Neighborhood and our “irreconcilable” nit-picky Minutiae ministering inside of God’s Neighborhood.

With minimum effort, “Mind the chasm” between God’s Neighborhood and our “irreconcilable” nit-picky Minutiae ministering inside of God’s Neighborhood.

Make every effort to “hit the ground running” pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth].

Make the effort to Mind the chasm with the minimum amount of effort ….

Make the minimal effort to “hit the ground walking” to pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth].

Make the effort to Mind the chasm with no effort whatsoever …. in other words,

make no effort at all to expend any level of energy to barely “look up from our smart phones” to pursue [with {any}enthusiasm {from our church pews}] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth]. – Make the maximum effort to pursue the Status Quo.

In other words, make every single effort to be like the guy who ignored Lazarus:

Luke 16:25-26Amplified Bible

25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things [all the comforts and delights], and Lazarus likewise bad things [all the discomforts and distresses]; but now he is comforted here [in paradise], while you are in severe agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you [people] a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to come over from here to you will not be able, and none may cross over from there to us.’

Luke 16:25-26The Message

25-26 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

Jesus taught his followers highly insightful things about the kingdom of God.

Care and compassion for everyone in God’s Neighborhood without exception.

With maximum effort expended: Breaking down those “uncrossable” barriers.

Risk everything to take a sledgehammer, vigorously pound into and through “worldly values, worldly traditions, rituals, worldly morals, worldly ethics.”

To rigorously pound down, pound through every single facet of what divides us.

Without any mind or thought for whose agenda was more right or more wrong, thoughts of whose beliefs were more correct than the others, care for the poor was high on his agenda, as we see in his parable about the rich man, Lazarus.

Lazarus, an extremely poor man, was covered with sores and was hungry. An untouchable. For who knows how long, he lay outside the gate of a wealthy man who lived in power and luxury. But he was ignored, and his needs went unmet.

When the poor man died, he was taken to rest with Abra­ham, where he finally was comforted. And when the rich man died, he was consigned to Hades, where he was in torment. He pleaded for relief and begged for a warning to be sent to his brothers. Abraham explained that there was an impassable gap between them, and that the man’s brothers already had all the instructions they needed.

The chasm is the result of the “rich man” ignoring all of God’s teachings about neighbor love and justice for all of our brothers and sisters. These teachings are plentiful in the Bible, reminding us God loves the all poor, the sinners, demands justice for all of them, and “upholds the cause of all the needy” (Psalm 140:12).

The reasons for God loving everyone in His neighborhood are often complex and far beyond our ability to question, but the reality is simple: there is great need to pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth].

God’s Word still reminds us of his special care for every single neighbor we share with God in His Neighborhood. The reality is that God’s Word does not allow, make any room whatsoever, for exceptions to living out the example of Jesus established in his earthly ministry to follow as we love all our neighbors.

Make Every Effort to Pursue Maximum Peace and Maximum Mutual Edification—Romans 14:19.

Romans 14:19-21NKJV

19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may [a]edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with [b]offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles [c]or is offended or is made weak.

As believers we have more in common than we acknowledge with our brothers and sisters in Christ than we have with the natural family we were born into.

When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we were reborn into God’s family and now share with everyone a wonderful heavenly heritage based on His promises.

This all stems from faith in Jesus and is a bond that will transcend both time and distance. We will spend all eternity with these people, so it makes sense for us to aim and eagerly pursue harmony and mutual edification with each other.

So many times, we let nit-picky minutiae, minor divisions separate and cause dissension among us instead of realizing that we were ALL called into one body.

We should be pursuing peace among each other, encouraging and building up one another instead of tearing each other down by our actions and behaviors.

No matter what personal and or “Christian” or “Biblical” convictions we hold to we are to always give a greater measure of consideration to every one of our fellow brethren and conduct our “Christianity” in God’s neighborhood, behave in such a way that will build them up instead of causing confusion in their lives.

The Apostle Paul said in the previous verses of Romans chapter 14 ….  

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:17-18).

There are infinitely more important things to consider than satisfying our own needs. We are all a part of the kingdom and what we do has eternal significance.

So many people struggle for acknowledgment and validation over these kinds of issues such as “eating, drinking” or “traditions” and “doctrines” of the church.

But Paul gave a great rule of thumb in 1 Corinthians, 

“So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved” (I Corinthians 10:31-33).

God’s Word! The bottom line is that whatever you do make sure you are doing it for the glory of God, and absolutely none of your own and it will be accepted.

Our behavior should be above reproach in this world not because our acceptance with God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior depends on it, but because our “truest” behavior will be seen by others and by this thereby glorify our Father in heaven or make every single effort to run like crazy in the opposite direction.

Paul sought to please others in order that many would be saved. The same principle applies to us today, we should not seek our own interest, but the interests of Christ and all of our actions should build and encourage His body.

What an amazing thing to belong to something so wonderful.

We do not belong to ourselves anymore and as such we should live like WHO we are and WHOSE we are.

Today I pray that we will behave with an eternal perspective in life and that our behavior and our actions reflect that mindset.

May you live your life making every effort, leading to the maximum pursuit of peace and mutual edification in the body of Christ and your actions lead others into this fellowship by turning them towards Jesus who can save them, Amen.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear Heavenly Father, turn me towards the Cross where your Son died for me. Pray, forgive me for my impatience and selfishness. Defeat the bad attitude of shallow divisiveness that I often display in arguments and disagreements with others in your family. Energize me by your Spirit to see areas where I can be a truer blessing and an encouragement to others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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