One of my mentors in college was a history professor and country church pastor named Allen Koop. The son of the former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Professor Koop taught an amazing class on the history of healthcare. One afternoon, he shared with our discussion group about all of the health issues and associated treatment costs that can arise from smoking. One of my classmates raised his hand and said, “With all due respect, I could care less about any of this. I like smoking. It’s my body. And I should be able to do with it what I please.” Many of our classmates seemed to agree. After all, what could feel more ours than our bodies?
And yet over and against this perspective – one that was just as common in the 1st century as the 21st – the Apostle Paul tells us that as Christians, our bodies do not belong to us.
“You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
I don’t think this teaching, which we’ll dive into this Sunday, would be very popular on my college campus or on many others.
But that’s just another reason why I am so thrilled to work with our ten college-aged summer interns this summer. These amazing young men and women, many of whom grew up in our church family, are serious about wanting to honor God not just with their bodies but with the whole of their lives. I’m thrilled for them to be able to say to our kids and students whom they are serving this summer, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
We count it such an honor that they would come serve with us, and thank you for honoring them by praying for them in worship last Sunday. Your generosity enables us to provide these young men and women with the opportunity to discover and develop their gifts for ministry – teaching, encouraging, serving, and of course leading with Jeremy McCasland on the VBS dance stage next week. For some reason, no one has asked me to use my body to serve in that way…
Honored to serve alongside you,
P.S. As Paul discusses what it means to honor God with our bodies, he has a lot to say about how we use our sexuality, which I will address in my sermon in the Sanctuary services. If you are a parent, you may want to read 1 Corinthians 6:13-20 in advance and to determine if the content of the passage and sermon will be appropriate for your kids.
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