May 16, 2008

Dying for a Drink?

1 Corinthians 10:11-13

If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12


I met him in the city of Chicago. He came up to me after I’d spoken at a city mission where several homeless men came every night to eat and sleep. He told me that he once had a successful dental practice and had served three times as an elder in a local church. And now, he said, “I am a hopeless alcoholic—and it happened because I thought it could never happen to me.”

The book Dying for a Drink tells the story of a Christian minister who admits his drinking problem and goes for help. According to one of the authors, “at least 15 percent of the adult population … abuse alcohol or have become dependent on it.” He adds, “Alcoholism ignores the boundaries of gender, age, race …”—and he might add religion. This could mean that on an average Sunday a surprising percentage of the worshipers in church are in the clutches of alcohol.

Some have fallen into the trap without intending to, or because they thought it would never happen to them. Paul gives an urgent warning: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

Don’t cover up, and don’t deny the problem. Recognize the danger, acknowledge the addiction, surrender it to the Lord, and ask for help.

In the words of the late Alex De Jong, “there’s hope and help for the alcoholic.”

Father in heaven, we pray for all who struggle with addiction. Give each one the courage to go for help. Give us all hope, we pray, and help us to show your love. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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