Solid Food

Our nine-month-old twins are happily receiving solid foods. They are over the moon with this new adventure. Beets, kale, bananas, apples, avocados and more are now part of their diet, pureed into delightful combinations and consumed with great joy. The little girl twin loves solids so much, she bangs her palms on the tray of her highchair and squeals loud enough to cause her more thoughtful brother to rest his head on his tray and cry. He likes the food, too, but the noise coming from the next highchair … well, not so much.

Parents remember making that switch with their babies to solid foods. It is a growth milestone that is anticipated by tired mothers who have been serving as the only source of sustenance until that point finally arrives. It is a happy moment for dads, partners, and grandparents who can now take a turn at feeding the babies. And the baby food industry is a thriving, multi-million dollar concern whose happy employers and stockholders are glad that they can produce a much-needed product to the world’s families.

But we aren’t meant to stay in that milestone, just as we aren’t meant to consume milk for the rest of our lives. These things belong to babies.

Paul likened the church in Corinth to babies who had to drink milk because they weren’t ready for solid food. In his analogy, he accused them of spiritual infancy based on their infighting and divisions in the fellowship. It was a severe chastisement, and he made it clear to them that he was ashamed of their behavior:

1 Corinthians 3 (Common English Bible)

3 Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? 

The church had divided along the lines of following the men who introduced them to the faith. They then pitted themselves against each other. Jealousy and fighting were traits of those living solely in the flesh, and Paul had a higher goal for his church. They were anointed by the spirit, and he demanded that they act like it.

When someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and someone else says, “I belong to Apollos,” aren’t you acting like people without the Spirit? After all, what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants who helped you to believe. Each one had a role given to them by the Lord: I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. 

Their allegiance to these ordinary men offended Paul. It was God who made the church grow. Paul questioned their motives and accused them of being without the spirit. Instead, he encourages them to be planters and waterers, working together to bring forth a crop worthy of God’s attention. He makes the point that their fighting over these insignificant men would have an insignificant outcome. God is the master gardener here.

Because of this, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow.The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor. We are God’s coworkers, and you are God’s field, God’s building.

When churches fight within themselves, growth stops. When divisions happen, the field goes fallow and the planting and watering ceases. When we stop working together, we are acting like babies.

But there are things we can do to set aside our divisions and work toward a common goal of making disciples of Jesus Christ. The first step is to do that “one thing” that Jesus commended Mary for understanding … we need to sit at Jesus’ feet and take in all of his teaching. When we focus on the one thing we are called to do, our differences fade in the light of his glory. Centered in the unity and peace of Christ, we can arise and build the kingdom together.

Are you causing dissension in your field? Stop, sit, and feast on his word. By keeping the main thing the main thing, we can plant, water, and grow together as coworkers in the field. God will sort out the rest.

Plant. Water. Grow. by Becca Ziegler

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