Much has been said about tomorrow’s vote on whether we should allow stores to sell alcohol on Sunday. I do not drink alcohol for several reasons. It is not because I believe the Bible says you can never drink a beer or a glass of wine—the Bible is very clear about alcohol—you are not to get drunk and you are not to abuse it. While I do not think the Bible ever commands total abstinence from alcohol I choose not to drink for several reasons. Let me take you through the process that led me to that decision by asking you four simple questions.
First, is it helpful? In 1 Corinthians 6:12 we find these words, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” My great-grandfather was against all alcohol. His doctor told him that drinking a glass of wine every night would be helpful to him, but he said he could not do that. The doctor suggested that he drink a tablespoon of wine every night and he said he could do that! Without a doubt there are medical benefits to some alcohol. Even Paul told Timothy to mix a little wine with his water for his stomach. (1 Tim 5:23) So we could say it is helpful in some cases.
Second, does it master? In the second half of 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.” Does alcohol have the potential to master and enslave you? The answer is it can absolutely master you. I don’t even have to prove that…you know it is true. The potential is there and you may be genetically prone toward alcoholism and while it has some health benefits it also has terrible consequences.
Third, does it cause others to stumble? 1 Corinthians 8:13, “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” I know that I am to live a life that is above reproach. I know that if I, as a pastor, were seen buying alcohol or drinking alcohol in public I could cause others to stumble…especially here in the South. What if I could handle a beer a day or a glass of wine a night, but someone who could not handle it saw me and thought, “If the pastor can drink so can I.” I choose not to take that risk. I choose not to make others stumble in this area.
Finally, does it glorify God? 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I’ve had many discussions with other Christians over this question. Some had argued that they could glorify God by drinking because, after all, didn’t Jesus turn the water into the best wine of the evening? Others could never see a time that drinking would honor or glorify God. So where does that leave us with the issue of drinking alcohol?
I choose not to drink because of the second and third question. It does master and it would cause others to stumble; therefore I cannot glorify God doing it. I have some very strong Christian brothers and sisters who disagree with my conclusion and I am able to agree to disagree with them, but that is why I choose not to drink. But, let’s get back to the question, what about selling alcohol on Sunday and the upcoming vote tomorrow?
Years ago our forefathers sought to set aside Sunday as the Lord’s Day and to make it a day different from the other six days. When I first moved to Boaz most stores were closed on Sunday and even the outlets asked for the churches blessing to open on Sunday afternoon from 1 to 5. A lot has changed since those days…hasn’t it?
There is one law left on the books that sets Sunday apart from all other days. That law does not allow the selling of alcohol on Sunday because it saw Sunday as a special day. So the question is simple—do we want Sunday to continue to be seen as a special day or should it be seen as just another day of the week?
I find it hard to believe that restaurants won’t come to our city because of this issue. When I go out to eat on a Sunday afternoon the restaurants are usually filled with people who just attended a church service. Ultimately, as a Christian, I do not vote based on my wallet—I vote based on what I feel the Scripture says about any given issue. So as you go to vote tomorrow I would simply urge you to pray, seek God’s will, but please go and vote. If I could vote tomorrow I would vote no because I want to keep the Lord’s Day separate from any other day. What about you?