I have heard many reasons for Christians to abstain from alcohol. Most of these reasons focus on personal piety, personal health, and personal responsibility.
But the best reason to abstain from alcohol has nothing to do with personal piety.
The best reason for a Christian to avoid alcohol is the church’s mission to the least of these in the margins of society. [Feel free to tweet this.]
Yes, the bible does not forbid drinking alcohol.
Yes, alcohol in moderation is an acceptable Christian position.
But, when I open my eyes to the plight of the least of these in our world, I cannot help but see the horrible destruction that alcohol brings to individuals, families, and neighborhoods. The church’s mission to partner with God in the redemption of all things leads me to stand against the destructive force that alcohol too often becomes. By fully abstaining from alcohol I stand with those who have no ability to drink in moderation. I stand with the family members who have been hurt through a loved one’s addiction. I stand with those in neighborhoods that have been scarred by generations of alcoholism. And I seek to model a way to a better society.
The June 2014 issue of Christianity Today features the article “Why I Gave Up Alcohol” by D.L. Mayfield. Mayfield testifies to giving up alcohol as a way of loving her neighbors. She writes, “I didn’t give up alcohol because I wanted to flee the evils of the world. I gave up alcohol as a way of engaging the evils of the world.” Go read her entire article. It is very, very good.
The best reason for a Christian to avoid alcohol is the church’s mission to the least of these at the margins of society.
Perhaps Jesus might say to us today, “When you did not drink for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did not drink for me.”