“All they asked was that we should remember the needy in their group, which is the very thing I have been eager to do”.
Gal 2:10 GNB
Many people find theological discussion and debate very fascinating. People can discuss and argue for hours on many aspects of the Christian faith. Some just love to do so. But it is also possible to unconsciously use the arguing process as an excuse for failing to do the real, down-to-earth, practical caring things that are so basic to Christian compassion and love.
The apostles met in Jerusalem with Barnabas assisting and supporting Paul, and Titus a crucial talking point who embodied the gospel Paul preached and who also showed you could be a good Christian believer without conforming to the letter of the Jewish law. No doubt the debate and argument went on for many hours. At the end of it all there was agreement on the theological issue of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. They were separate faiths. There could no longer be any doubt. And Gentile Christian converts were in no way subject to the requirements of the Jewish law. They were free from entanglements with “the law”. But the whole time wasn’t spent in theological debate. There was a pressing matter which seems to have aroused much concern in the early church – the poor in Jerusalem. So a practical rider was added to the decision about the law. The Gentile Christian converts of Paul’s missionary endeavours were to be asked to send financial support to help the church in Jerusalem in its efforts to help the poor.
Always be practical. Never get so wrapped up in splitting theological hairs that you neglect to do the simple acts of caring that authenticate the gospel of God’s love.
Lord, help me to keep my feet on the ground.