Who’s Most Important?

I got in a short workout at the resort’s fitness center today. I had my weekly conference call with LEAP, the energy project I am working on. I wrote my first “Letter to the Editor” to the Denver Post. I actually received a call making sure I was okay with it being published. Besides that it was time at the pool, doing some writing and playing miniature golf. We actually found that “back nine” holes are handicap accessible, so that helped.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… We are only servants of God who helped you believe. Each one of us did the work God gave us to do.  I planted the seed, and Apollos watered it. But God is the One who made it grow. So the one who plants is not important, and the one who waters is not important. Only God, who makes things grow, is important.”       1 Corinthians 3:5-7 NCV

It seems to be human nature, to determine “Who is the Best” or “Most Important” in many arenas of life. We see this in sports, the entertainment industry, business and finance, education, science and even in the Church. Is Peter greater than Paul? Is Paul greater than John? This tendency of elevating the importance of human leaders was present in the first century.

It is certainly fine to recognize the impact of individuals and to admire and respect those who have made a contribution in so many ways and in so many fields. But when it came to valuing spiritual leadership the Church at Corinth allowed it to be a source of pride, contention and division. This was especially true between Paul and Apollos.

Paul sets the record straight in saying that he and all other ministers are but “servants of God” who are “building on the foundation of Jesus Christ.” It doesn’t matter who frames, does the masonry work or the interior finish. What matters is that the building is built and that it glorifies God. So, Paul concludes that the only true, “most important builder” is God. Because all things are from Him, by Him and for Him.

This theme is seen in the early chapters of Corinthians and is at the heart of 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul talks about spiritual gifts and the “body of Christ.” Paul summarizes his extended metaphor and teaching by saying…”Together you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of that body.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NCV)

The Holy Spirit gives different gifts to different people in different dimensions and they all are needed. It is as fruitless of value one above the other just as it is to place a value on one body part over another. The human body needs all of its parts and the “Body of Christ” needs all of its members working together for the purpose of bringing glory to God and building up the body.

This is an important part of our spiritual life. I’m thankful for uniquely gift leaders; but I am also thankful for those who enable those gifted leaders to maximize their effectiveness. We can develop our gifts and ask the Lord for greater impact and usefulness. But we all can be “faithful in the work the Lord has given us to do.” We don’t need to exalt certain gifts or gifted individuals. We don’t need to feel we are in a spiritual competition or possess a sense of pride if God is uniquely using us. But we are to remember Paul’s instructions, “Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church. (1 Cor. 14:12 NLT)