Read: I Corinthians 4:1-21
Think: In today’s reading, Paul’s words to the church in Corinth are incredibly blunt! First, he states that he doesn’t care how others evaluate him because the Lord will be the one to examine him! Then he warns them against judging others because the Lord will eventually bring our private motives and darkest secrets into the light. Next he reminds them not to be proud of one leader at the expense of another. Finally, he defends the role of an apostle saying, “…Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed.” As if that wasn’t enough, he blurts out how he feels the apostles have been cursed and even abused, concluding, “Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.” Can you even imagine one of the greatest evangelists of the early church feeling as if he was treated like garbage!? Wow!
Act: The first four chapters of I Corinthians have quite a different tone than Acts and Romans. We went from the Holy Spirit in Action to the Gospel in Action with the expectation that these two great “agents” of God would send the Church into Action with a great send-off! Not so much, huh? In the beginning of this letter, Paul not only deals with specific and troubling issues within the church, but he is honest about how he feels like a weary, under-appreciated father. The best thing we can do at this juncture in our reading is to empathize with Paul! When is a time that you felt under-appreciated, weary, or foolish for helping another? Now imagine that feeling occurring within a church—a place that is intended to be the safest place on earth! A famous pastor recently said, “I quit every Monday because I feel so bad after preaching on Sunday!” Working in a church is not (and has never been) easy! Today, identify and encourage one church staff person or volunteer who has sacrificially given his or her time to you or your family by mentoring, praying, teaching, listening, setting up or tearing down. (I can assure you that you can never give enough encouragement to a church worker!)
Pray: Jesus, thank you for the teachers, leaders, pray-ers, facilitators, volunteers, and listeners at my church. Show me specific ways in which I can be a grateful, thankful, and an appreciative member of my church. I love You, Lord. Amen.
Be full of faith today!