Paul had to address the ever-present human tendency to be fans rather than followers, to create super-stars instead of shepherds, to choose style over substance. The Christians in Corinth had begun to separate themselves into factions around their preference for a particular church leader. Imagine that! I guess that’s partly what the scripture means when it says, “There’s nothing new under the sun!”
Paul, Apollos, and Peter had each had input and influence on the church in Corinth, but by choosing one of these men over the others, these factions in the church were not only segregating themselves from each other, they were cutting themselves off from the benefit of the ministry of every other leader.
God’s Church is incredibly diverse in its rich traditions and variety of expressions of his amazing grace and truth! The Church’s diversity shows itself in expressions and styles of worship, in particular emphases and practices of faith, and in its ability to adapt and adjust to a variety of cultures and systems.
I’ve worshipped in European cathedrals and African mud huts, I’ve sung the great hymns of the church and clapped along to moving African choruses sung in a language I didn’t understand. My heart has been moved as I’ve heard fiery Pentecostal preachers and my mind has been enriched as I’ve heard academically trained teachers expound God’s Living Word.
It’s disappointing and sad when Christians say, “I can only receive from a particular leader or teacher,” or “I can only worship when choruses are sung (or when hymns are sung!). God has provided us with such a rich range of experiences and traditions. It’s all ours! It all belongs to us all! Don’t cut yourself off from God’s intended blessings with a narrow “This is what I like! This is all I like!” attitude. Everything belongs to you!
Father, Thanks so much for the richness, the scope, and the variety of ways you teach us, ways we can worship you, and ways we can experience your blessings! Please help us to embrace and enjoy everything that belongs to us! For Jesus’ sake! Amen!
Everything Belongs To You
Reading: 1 Corinthians 3; Psalm 123
21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23 NLT)
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