Q Why is leavened bread used in the Lord’s Supper? I haven’t been partaking because Jesus was sinless and according to 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, leaven represents sin.
A Probably most of our churches use leavened bread because it’s readily available. On some occasions some churches use unleavened bread or wafers.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul is concerned that the incestuous member of the congregation will contaminate the whole body, as leaven (yeast) affects the whole loaf. Leaven is used in a similar way by the apostle in Galatians 5:9 and by Jesus in the gospels when he speaks of the Pharisees and of Herod (Mark 8:15). However, other gospel passages (Matt. 13:33, Luke 13:20-21) use leaven to illustrate the amazing growth of God’s kingdom. The point of comparison is how leaven works, not whether leaven itself is good or bad.
We use the figures of salt and light
(Matt. 5:13-16) to encourage each other to make a difference in the world, and it would be totally appropriate to use the figure of leaven to encourage believers to live and speak in such a way that they positively affect their workplace and neighborhood.
—George Vander Weit
George Vander Weit is pastor of Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Q We currently live in an older home near our church but recently found a really great house in the country. But it costs more than we planned to spend. If my wife can find a part-time job, we think we can swing it financially. What do you think?
A Let me share a story that transformed our family’s perspective about what kind of house we “need.” A Kenyan pastor rode home with me to have supper with our family. As we pulled into the driveway of our two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, the pastor’s eyes grew wide with amazement. He studied our little bungalow and asked, “How many families live in there?” I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. “Just me, my wife, and two boys live here,” I replied a little sheepishly, realizing where this was going.
Then he looked straight ahead to see our unattached, single-stall garage. “And who lives in there?” he queried. “That’s our garage,” I answered. “It’s where we park our car.” Astonished, his eyes grew bigger and his voice got louder as he blurted out, “You have a house for your car?”
I realized in that moment that what I thought was “normal” and what my pastor friend thought was “normal” were two very different things. My wife, Beckie, and I thought we lived in a starter home. The pastor thought we lived in a mansion. But here’s the amazing thing—it turns out that the pastor’s view of “normal” was a much more accurate reflection of how God sees the world than my limited view from life in West Michigan. North Americans with an average income of $43,000 per year are in the top 5 percent of the world’s wealthiest people!
I would advise you not to make any home purchase decisions based on the possibility of your wife getting a part-time job—or even what the bank says you can afford.
Rather, I would recommend that before you go house hunting you first seek the Lord and establish giving and savings goals. Then commit to allocating no more than 25 to 30 percent of your take-home pay (not including your wife’s job possibility) to housing. This approach will not only create some breathing room in your budget, it will also help your family experience the incredible peace and joy of 1 Timothy 6:6, that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Mike Buwalda is a stewardship consultantfor Barnabas Foundation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q My child’s sports coach won’t let him “play hurt” and wants injuries well healed before putting him in the lineup again. Is this right?
A I feel this is not only right but necessary when coaching younger players in any sport. This issue does not come up when dealing with major fractures, dislocations, or internal injuries. Generally players with “minor” injuries want to continue playing or get back to playing before the injury is healed.
Trauma (for example, sprains, fractures involving the growth plate, contusions, lacerations) and overuse injuries (tendonitis, bursitis, stress fractures, shin splints) need to be sorted out by a qualified practitioner. You are fortunate if your team has a physiotherapist or team doctor. If not, consult your own doctor who can deal with it directly or refer your child to a sports medicine clinic if necessary.
The reasons for insisting on proper care are to
- limit further injury and loss of strength and flexibility (this will also get your child back to playing earlier)
- prevent a situation in which your child may have a lifelong injury or disability.
It’s especially important to treat concussions well. If a diagnosis of concussion has been made, listen to the professional advice. Returning to play too early can result in chronic symptoms of headaches, decreased memory, and decreased concentration. Damage can be cumulative and lifelong.
Sports are meant to be enjoyed, but not at the expense of chronic disability.
Dr. Herman Borkent practices medicine atMisericordia Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.