1 Corinthians 7:29-31 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
In this part of the Corinthian correspondence, the Apostle Paul is challenging the followers of Christ in every age and circumstance to be serious about Jesus’ command in the Sermon on the Mount: “But seek first [your heavenly Father’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
This is not only what the Lord TAUGHT throughout his earthly ministry, it is what he modelled in his LIFE. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” … “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34; 6:38). The bringing in of God’s Kingdom was his primary purpose, whatever the cost, and anything and everything else was secondary to it.
Similarly, Paul, in this chapter, is instructing the Christians in Corinth about where the marriage relationship fits into and impacts upon their discipleship and service, their walk with Christ. He points out that marriage, important as it is, is one of the many aspects of our life that belongs to this world and therefore needs to be kept in the right perspective. Bereavement, also, is a major life-changing aspect of our pilgrimage in a fallen world, but it must not be allowed to consume us at the expense of our usefulness in Kingdom work. Nor should our enjoyment of pleasure at the other end of the emotional spectrum.
Perhaps the real challenge for most of us is our attitude to material things. Are we able to make purchases in our market-driven society and then treat what we buy “as if it were not [ours] to keep”? Just how attached do we become to our house? our car? our wide-screen TV? our Smart Phone? Have we become “engrossed in them”? A good exercise to help us deal with these challenges is to focus on the Lord’s return, remembering that when he comes he will be ushering in the New Heaven and the New Earth, and that even now “this world in its present form is passing away”!
– Bruce Christian