This is what God gave me today in his word:
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. (1 Corinthians 4:7-10)
Wait a minute here Paul, you obviously have something wrong! You just (in chapter three) addressed them as infants in Christ! How come you are now saying their wise in Christ while you aren’t? How is it that you’re weak while they’re strong?
First, did Paul make several mistakes when he wrote to the Corinthians here? …
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
Paul isn’t paying them any compliments, quite the opposite. He’s possibly even referring that Christ hasn’t chosen them to be his. But isn’t it good to be wise in Christ? Isn’t it right to be strong in God? Isn’t it better to be honorable? Yes, it is! But this isn’t what Paul is saying, he’s referring to their being “wise” in Christ. Which in context means that Paul is in essence saying they know a lot about Christ, but they know all of this from a worldly point of view.
To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. (1 Corinthians 4:11-14)
So now, is it better to be homeless or to have a home? Better to work with your hands, or to own a farming business were all your “human assets” do the “manual labor” for you? Better to be the scum of the world, or the president of it? Is Paul saying that the Monks were right and that we should take vows of silence, vows of poverty, and farm all day?
Second, should we all sell our homes? … At the moment, that seems to be what Paul is suggesting.
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1)
Paul isn’t saying that we should sell everything, unless of course that what God calls us to do. He’s saying that according to the world’s standards, we are fools, the scum of the world. Which when you think about it is actually rather a good thing, to be the scum of the world. Better that, then the pride and joy of it.
I’ll put things this way; Paul, here, is simply rebuking the Corinthians. Lightly, but still, rebuking them. Why? Because they are “wise” in the world, not in Christ! Or they are wise in Christ, but it’s a worldly wisdom, which isn’t really wisdom. But now we have to ask a final question, “what can we possibly learn from a rebuke to the Corinthians from Paul?”, if Paul wanted us to learn one thing from this, I think it would be the first verse in Corinthians 4. People should see us as stewards of the Gospel. Everything else Paul has said in this chapter is just building upon this point. It doesn’t matter if someone thinks of us as foolish, in fact, we should welcome it! We should be drunk with the Spirit, foolish in our insane repetition of that which is most important; the Gospel!
And this my point. It doesn’t matter so much if we’re homeless, scorned by the world. God promises to provide our needs not necessarily our wants. But, whether we’re poor, or as wealthy as kings, we should be like Paul in that we should be content in all things. But that isn’t what matters, what matters is that when the world looks at us, they don’t see a kinsmen, they see a steward of the king; the almighty and eternal king.
You are Loved!