1 Corinthians 4 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“For I think G_d has displayed us, the apostles, in last place, like men condemned to die: we have become a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men. We are fools for Messiah, but you are wise in Messiah! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! Up to the present hour, we are both hungry and thirsty; we are poorly clothed, roughly treated, and homeless; we labor, working with our hands. When we are reviled, we bless; when we are slandered, we entreat. We are, even now, like the world’s garbage, like the filth of all things.” 1 Corinthians 4:9-13
Well, so much for the Word Faith and Prosperity doctrines! For all the so-called “modern day apostles”, soliciting faith donations to support their opulent lifestyles, Paul gives insight, as to the ministries & lifestyles of the ACTUAL apostles. And for all those who preach that we should not “speak-forth” negative things, lest we curse ourselves, Paul determined to describe life of an apostle as it really was: a shimmering blessing against the backdrop of a martyr’s suffering.
The reason for Paul’s instruction is that some men had already found a way to exploit the Gospel for personal gain, by elevating themselves. Once you elevate certain a man above others, divisions within the body of Messiah soon follow. Believers become known more for their systematic differences than for their brotherhood, by faith in Yeshua, alone.
Not only do such divisions affect the Messianic community-at-large, but also they greatly diminish our witness in the World. For me, the greater “body of Messiah’s” damaged testimony is most evident when I am in Israel. There are hundreds of “Christian” denominations & divisions who have offices in Israel. Listening to Jewish non-believers speak of how the “Christians” fight among themselves is shameful. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Old Jerusalem is the prime example. Its ownership & upkeep is shared by various competing strains of Catholicism…each trying to outdo the other.
It is all so contra to how Yeshua prayed for the unity of all believers just before He went to the Roman cross.
Contra to elevating oneself, Paul tells us that G_d chose to display the apostles “humbly”. That is, the mark of greatness for a Messianic leader is not how high they elevate themselves, rather, how well they submit to G_d’s design of lowly humility. This aligns perfectly with the Beatitudes section of Yeshua’s “Sermon on the Mount”. Matthew 5:3-11
For all who seek the “luxurious life of ministry”, perhaps you should listen to Paul. There are riches to be had…but mostly stored-up in Heaven.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, September 3, 2013