1 Corinthians 11:33-34
Why, my brothers, when you come together to eat, tarry one for another.…
1. These words glance at a state of things of which happily we can form little idea from any existing analogy. No one thinks now of bringing or sending food to satisfy his hunger. No one thinks of making distinctions between rich and poor, nor of beginning, in violation of the principle of fellowship, to eat and drink before the rest. We all tarry one for another.
2. But are not these words fall of meaning and value even to us? You sometimes picture to yourselves the Church lifted high above the world, with aspects and motions to the world above. But innumerable ties bind her also to the earth. She looks on to victory and rest, but also far around, to see who are coming to share in it. She makes no tarrying, and yet she tarries for all who need her help. Tarry —
I. FOR THE YOUNG. You cannot look for the steady tread of those who have long been in the way in the ease of those who are just coming into it. Joseph and Mary went a day's journey homeward before they missed their Son. So I seem to see the Church of manhood and womanhood more than a day's journey ahead, with no yearning desire after the Church of adolescence. But when they found the young Jesus He was in the temple about His Father's business. Reverence the children — the Church of the future. It is not given to fathers and mothers to divine all that their children may yet be and achieve. Tarry for them. Help the struggling thought; throw gentle airs and warm sunshine around the budding affections. Say "well done" when it has been well done. And when ye come up to the chief festival of life, do not seem as if you could comfortably come alone. Say to them, "Come with us," until they respond, "We will go with you, for we perceive that God is with you."
II. FOR THE WEAK.
1. There never was an army without the sick and lame. But they are cared for as true soldiers. There never was a family of many children that had not some weaker than the rest. Where the law of love prevails, they are cared for in proportion to their weakness. Have you heard how in a band of workmen there are weak men; and when the others see their weakness, they will edge in a little help on each side, so as to keep that part of the work square with the rest, that the weak may claim full wage at the week's end?
2. "We, then, that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak." The tender spirit of the New Testament in regard to weakness and the weak is everywhere. It had its source in the heart of our blessed Lord, who had compassion on the multitudes when He saw them. It filled the hearts, and it pervades the writings of His apostles. It is one of the notes of the true Church. It is her law which I now enforce. Some are fainting; but when they have rested awhile they will come. Some are hungry; when they are fed they will be stronger. Some have been sick; nothing can recruit them but time and gracious weather and kindly nourishment. Tarry one for another, and the weak shall be as David, and David as the angel of the Lord.
III. FOR THE DOUBTING. Not for the captious and the insincere, but for those who are honestly seeking for light.
1. A company of people, travelling through a forest, come to a place where many paths meet. Most of them are in no doubt which path to take. But some are in doubt. How, then, should they be treated by those from whom they part? Are we to cry, "Farewell; we shall see you no more. Go your ways into famine and death"? Are we not rather to say, "We shall tarry for you; not indeed by staying our own progress, but by calling to you, by lighting our camp-fires at night, that you may see where we halt? You will not go far without seeing that you are wrong, and then take the path that leads right into ours. We shall be waiting for you."
2. There are many wanderers that are to be waited for. There are honest doubts, only to be resolved by time and light.
IV. FOR THE STIRICKEN. They are perhaps out of sight; for they are apt to fall out of the company. As the great Sufferer, now the great Conqueror, waits for us all, let us wait for one another.
V. FOR THE WHOLE WORLD. Enemies as they are now, in the future they are to be friends. Let none doubt how the long conflict is to end. The Church can never submit herself to the world; but the world shall ground its weapons, and hold out the hand of friendship to the Church, and the conciliation shall be perfect. Conclusion: But to those of whom we have been speaking, for whom we have asked all patience and consideration, I would say, Be sure that you do not wait. Make haste; others are tarrying for you.
(A. Raleigh, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.