1 Corinthians 3:1-9 – What’s Your Role?

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

little hands holding a plant in dirt handing to bigger hands outstretched

If you’ve ever cared for a baby, you know that you don’t feed them steak when they don’t have any teeth. Paul uses a great example here. You probably also know that after being sick or having surgery, you are often started on a “soft” diet until the doctors know whether your body can handle other foods. My husband David is a lover of all things spicy, and when his doctor tells him to stay off hot peppers, it’s not welcome news. It’s not only important to heed wise advice, but this is a great reminder to be mindful of how we present the gospel.

Think back when you first encountered Jesus. At first there was so much excitement. You were hungry for answers. But you likely became quickly overwhelmed with all sorts of spiritual talk. It’s better to start slowly and be spoon fed the gospel bit by bit. Paul has been doing this to help the young congregation in Corinth to grow in their faith at a pace that won’t overwhelm them.

We often call new believers “baby Christians,” probably because of how Paul describes them here. Whether we are “babies” or mature in our faith, we all have a sinful nature. It’s an understatement to say, “it’s easy to fall into bad habits.” Paul would say when this happens, we are “living like people of the world.” We may mean well but still stumble.

Paul also cautions his readers against following the wrong leader or, maybe I should say, “worshipping” someone other than God. It’s easy to get attached to a pastor or teacher who has helped you in your faith journey. We’ve all had those special relationships. When we start to put them on a pedestal, so to speak, that’s something to be careful of.

We all have a job to do in helping nurture each other along our faith journeys. I love how Paul lays it out here using his seed analogy. What spoke to me here is “God makes the seed grow.” It’s critical that the seed get planted and watered so that God can do his work. We can be planters or waterers, but the heavy lifting is up to God.

Paul’s metaphor here refers our church family as the “field.” It’s all under God’s jurisdiction. As servants of God, it’s our job to help make a fruitful harvest. How are you working to help tend the field?

Paul shared about his role, along with that of the other preachers who had been involved. “Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.” That’s the key. They did the work. And it was a job given to them by God. They were clear on the mission God had communicated to them. They knew their place in God’s plan.

Take some time to think about your place. How are you serving other people to share the Good News with them?

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Father God, I am ready for more spiritual food but realize others around me may not be. Thank you for how you are using me to prepare the “field” for you. Use my words and actions to help others see you and yearn for a relationship with you. Thank you for how you are growing the seed of faith in me. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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