We are learning that as “stewards of the mysteries of God,” we are supervising what the Holy Spirit has revealed to us concerning what Jesus has done, how he rules, and how we can live a sacrificial life that contributes to his kingdom purposes (1 Cor 4:1-2).
The problem is (if we’re honest), we often get stuck in church power-games and popularity contests. Sometimes we “favor one against another” by totally overlooking “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker” (1 Cor 4:6; 12:22). But when we applaud our favorites, did you know that the “unpresentable parts” are quietly thinking, “Without us you have become kings!” (1 Cor 4:8; 12:23)? Oh, oh.
Please think long and hard about the impact power-games and popularity contests have on a church community. Begin by trying to answer Paul’s questions (1 Cor 4:7):
- “Who sees anything different (special) in you?” (i.e., is there a “who”?)
- “What do you have that you did not receive?” (i.e., if there is a “who,” why do they see you that way?)
- “If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (i.e., if there is a “who,” what are you going to do about it?”)
While nepotism crowns it’s chosen royalty, notice who’s in God’s parade: the last-of-all, sentenced-to-death, spectacle of weak fools in disrepute; the hungry, thirsty, poorly dressed, reviled, and slandered people who seem “like the scum of the world, the refuge of all things” (1 Cor 4:9-13). Whoa. What a parade, huh?
Paul is not trying to shame us; he’s admonishing us to change our attitude and behavior (1 Cor 4:14).
- What would happen if you viewed our church as your own family (4:14-17)?
- What would happen if you viewed our church as a family of kings (4:20)? You would say, “And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you!” (4:8)!