“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1)
How easy is it to get ahead of ourselves when we worry about the future? Even in the church, we can be at risk of having our minds run away from us with all kinds of forward planning, especially when we have a good cause for worry. Paul addresses this very issue in this letter to the Corinthian church.
So, what is the big problem for the Corinthians? We already know things were not “all roses in congregation land”. We read that there had been jealousy and strife (1 Corinthians 3:3) and that they had been trying to find a strong personality to follow (1 Corinthians 3:4), and it even seemed that they were looking for something more than what had been written to help them solve all their problems and navigate life.
Here Paul urges the congregation to regard himself, Apollos, and those called to the public ministry as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Why do you think he points to Christ and the mysteries of God and not to the person delivering the message? Perhaps it is because, without Christ, they have no reason to be doing anything at all.
Pastors are given to the church by God to proclaim Christ’s saving word and administer the sacraments faithfully for the people of God so that they can grow in faith, hope and love and enjoy God’s gifts. It seems that in Corinth, the body was moving before the head. The people seem to be seeking something or someone other than Christ, as revealed in God’s word. Therefore, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God, Paul declares he or Apollos cannot take the church beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) because doing so would disconnect the congregation from Christ.
No doubt those guided by worldly wisdom will think it is foolish to be guided by pastors who are often untrained in things like organisational management and business leadership. However, those who are led by the Spirit of God look to their pastor, knowing they will find Christ in his word as it is proclaimed, there with his gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation. Let us, therefore, thank God for those pastors who have been entrusted by God with his mysteries in Christ.
Lord, we ask that You watch over those You give us to pastor and guide us. Let their messages, guided by Your Word, be beacons in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.