By Not Known
Our first calling is to put our faith in Jesus and live out the gospel in every part of
life. Every believer is then called to serve the gospel by putting our time, talents
and treasure at God’s disposal. In this sense, we are all ambassadors and ministers
of the gospel according to our individual gifts and calling (1 Cor 12).
Our service of the gospel is in view in 1 Corinthians 3. The passage skilfully guards
against two dangers and sets us on a godly path.
On the one hand there is the danger of creating a following around particular
leaders (3:3-4). This might be the person who baptised or disciplined us, or just an
influential leader whose personality inspires. The danger here is of a cult in which
the leader is puffed with pride and the church divided around its personalities.
Paul regards this as a sign of immaturity by all concerned (3: 1-3). His antidote is to
remind us that we are all but one of many servants of the gospel. What finally
matters is God who brings the results from our service (3:7b).
Another danger is that we diminish the place of our service. This is the overly-
humble person who questions whether they can do anything worthwhile and
whether what they do has value anyway. This easily produces apathy and a
‘second-best’ effort at our service. Paul counters that by reminding us that we are
God’s fellow-workers and our workplace (the church) is his temple (3:9). How can
we bring our second best when we work alongside God?
Do we hear this message? Our service matters.
There are no little servants and no little acts of service. Every act of Christian
service has its place in making the gospel known, calling people to Jesus and
building them up in Jesus. That is why we must all take care as to how we build
(3: 10). Because we serve God we must serve as well as we can. There is no place
for sloppy preparation or a second best effort from tired and careless people. How
terrible to have left works of straw that burn when tested (3:12-15).
So let us serve with conscientiousness and confidence this year. Conscientiousness,
because we serve God and not some lesser cause. Confidence, because we serve
God who enables our service.