Mirrors have a way of changing our view. We have a choice: will we look in the mirror and walk away forgetting who we are (James 1) or will we look in the mirror and with a gasp see the true reflection and then choose to alter our view to mirror Christ? Are we seeing a servant spirit or a proud spirit? That is the question that Paul is asking the Corinthians to do in chapter 4.
Recently a friend has posted many times of the gratefulness he has experienced for his new pastor who is still driving 100 miles round trip to serve at his “wee” church. So too Paul had put a lot of shoe leather to the test as he walked from place to place. It is easy to get up and attend church when you live a mere 5 min drive or walk but this dear pastor and Paul put service above their personal needs. The question Paul is asking in this chapter is how do we view ourselves and more importantly, how do we view those in leadership. There is a saying: do not judge unless you have walked a mile in another’s shoes. That is what Paul is driving home in this chapter through his analogy of the servant and a steward.
Paul says there is a right way and a wrong way to view those in leadership and the Corinthians were leaning towards the wrong way. Paul uses two words to grab their attention and to get a true view. The Corinthians had a problem of elevating three people: Paul, Apollos, and Cephas more than Christ and not only that but they were beginning to elevate themselves with the mentality of “I have arrived.” To help them, Paul now gives them a picture of how we are to view those in leadership in our own churches which then gives us a proper perspective of who we are. Paul encourages them to imitate him as he follows Christ, the ultimate example of servanthood and stewardship.
Servants and stewards. Here he uses the word “hyperetas” which means a subordinate servant who ministers or renders a service to another. Secondly, Paul uses the word stewards which is the word “oikonomos.” This is one who has been entrusted with the management of a household. Ultimately they must give a report to a master and Paul is saying, I must give an account to God. God is looking for one key component: faithfulness. As you look at the leadership in your church what do you see? Does Jesus shine through them? Do you see them as servants/stewards or do we look at how they dress, how they market our church, their entertainment value, their humor? Instead we should be looking at those in leadership and their gift of servanthood and stewardship and ask: Are they being faithful? We might ask that same question of ourselves. How does God see me?
Paul is saying to the Corinthians and to us: don’t elevate one leader over another. Consider this fact: God is the giver of every perfect gift from above, for He is the Father of lights. See your leadership as a gift from God. Praise God for those in leadership and pray for them that they would be wise servants and stewards of that which has been entrusted to them which they are now sharing with you. Lastly, see yourself also as a servant in the Body of Christ.
Four questions: (1) Do I truly give God credit for my salvation? (2) Do I live with a spirit of humility? (3) Seeing all things come from God, what can I give in return to Him? (4) How can you demonstrate gratefulness for those in leadership over you?