Today’s Scripture: I Corinthians 4:1-5
4:1 So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.
Sometimes, (Ok – a lot of times) Paul really annoys me. Today is one of those times. It comes in verse 3: “As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority.” Seriously Paul?
I certainly do not have Paul’s self-confidence here. Does anyone really? I would wager he’s unique in his perspective. I don’t think I could ever say “it matters very little” to me what other people think. I’ve been looking for good grades my whole life! We all want to be approved by others – it’s human nature. Facebook and Instagram only intensify this need.
So yes, Paul is an outlier here for sure. But his bigger point is one that we should consider. Here in Chapter 4 of First Corinthians Paul is continuing his argument that church members in Corinth should stop lining up behind certain leaders. He’s reminding them that he couldn’t care less what people think of him or how many followers he has because in the end it’s God who judges our actions – not other humans. In the end Paul’s approval comes from Christ – not the Corinthians. So, if Paul himself doesn’t care about who follows him then why should the Corinthians care who they follow? Follow Christ and be done with it.
Sounds good Paul. But so hard to do. Plus, I’ve seen people who don’t care what others think – and they are pretty much jerks.
But Paul is not saying we should become egotistical jerks who don’t pay any attention to how we are affecting people. Instead he’s reminding us that in the end the opinions of others are much less important than the opinion of Christ. If there is anyone we should be trying to please, it’s Christ.
So today let’s try and set aside how many likes our posts get or what people think about us and concentrate on what it means to just follow Jesus. Period.
God forgive us for chasing approval from other humans and thus neglecting the work of becoming the disciples who call us to be. Give us the ability to turn down the volume of those who would judge and grade us. Help us to not seek out approval from others. And give us the connection to Christ that allows us to follow him fully and completely in everything we do.