The first four chapters of 1 Corinthians deal with the tendency of people to prefer one leader or style or personality or doctrinal emphasis over others and to form subgroups based on those preferences. Paul uses the metaphor of a crop grown in a field by a team of farmers and a temple constructed by a team of builders to emphasize that the important thing is the whole, not just a part, and that each special skill or task must contribute to the completion of the overall project.
The church is God’s temple, God’s harvest field. Each leader is to examine his or her input to see if it is contributing to the balanced completion of the master plan. Each follower is to examine his or her allegiance and see if it is to Christ’s leadership or to a particular member of the team.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. As a follower and leader, I need to have the master plan always before me and I must regularly and frequently look at what I’m working on in light of that plan – its priorities, its timing, and its current and long-term emphasis. It would be tragic if I worked for days or months or years on my part of the project and then discovered that it had to be torn down because it didn’t fit.
Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. (1 Corinthians 3:12 NLT)
I want my part of the Temple to be built with gold, silver, and jewels, not wood, hay, or straw. I want to build with materials that won’t burn. What are you building with? Will it last or will it burn?
Master Builder, I want to contribute. Help me stay on the plan – your plan, our plan, my plan. I want to build my section and use my skills and gifts to construct something that fits exactly into the temple we’re constructing. And I want to build something that won’t burn.
God’s Temple, God’s Team
Reading: 1 Corinthians 3; Psalm 121
9 We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God’s field, God’s building—not ours. 16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:9,16 NLT)
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