Managers of the Mysteries of God

1 Corinthians chapters 1-5, Week 1

This is the first full week of reading She Reads Truth’s 1 & 2 Corinthian’s bible study! My Wine Women and the Word gals have been reading and preparing to chit chat over some wine and the teachings of Paul.

First, props to Paul for just laying it all out there. There was no beating around the bush, not intricately constructing of words, no nonsense…this man fiercely wanted to get a message across to the Corinthians by all means necessary.

Our readings this week dealt with power, false wisdom, spiritual wisdom, foolishness, servanthood, our calling, humility and discipline. Yeah…that sounds like a lot. Paul knew the tendency of the Corinthians towards self centeredness and self sufficiency and has swooped in to set the record straight. As human beings we are all prone to this lifestyle and listening to Paul was pretty humbling.

Paul tells us

God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:9

It starts out simple. Fellowship is when you associate with people who share a common interest. Jesus died, we follow his teachings, we are saved. BOOM DONE. Yeah it can be that simple, but we humans like to complicate things with our selfishness, hence Paul talking to the Corinithians. The Jews and the Greeks especially had a hard time accepting Christ. Jews found weakness in Jesus’ death and the Greeks, who dwelled upon the wisdom per their culture, found Christ’s death to be nonsensical.

It’s really easy to see where they are coming from. Belief in something that is unseen takes inordinate amounts of faith. No, we can’t just download the answer to life in Christ and install it into our brains. We can’t google our way to eternity. It takes a quiet listening to the Holy Spirit speaking within you, it takes stepping away from what the world deems as important. It makes you step off the religion cliff, trusting that by following God we will be safely caught in a net before we crash and burn. The non-followers of Corinth could not make sense of this leap of faith and deemed it foolishness.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.

1  Corinthians 1:18

Paul sees the Corinthians have fallen victim to worldly distractions. They’re getting wrapped up in titles, in who they serve, which church they follow or what person they study under. Paul says

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave growth.

1 Corinthians 2:6

It is not an allegiance to any teacher, it is only God that matters. Teachers and bible studies can supplement, but they are not the main focus. They are merely tools in helping spread the word. We may strongly support global missions, feeding the poor or funding missionaries, but it is important to remember that though those things are good, they are merely ornaments on the life we are building. The foundation is God and can be nothing else.

In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul says something I love: His Grace is your qualification. I have a tendency to feel inadequate when measured up to successful and smart people. Lies creep in: Who am I to be leading a bible study? Why am I attempting to give advice? Am I qualified to spread the good news of Christ? WHAT IF I GET IT WRONG? Paul reminds the Corinthians that whether we are newbies or lifetime scholars of the bible, we all qualified. We have all been given the same mission:

A person should think of us in this way; as servants of Christ and managers of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 4:1

Ok how cool is that? “Managers of the mysteries of God.” That’s going on my resume. It’s important to remember that no matter where you are in your faith you are already fulfilling your mission. If you believe, if you live a life worthy of God’s teachings, if you humble yourself and make Christ the center then you are already showing the world that there is something more important worth living for. You are ministering simply by living.

When you follow God your world shifts. You may do many of the same things, but your purpose shifts. Suddenly we are called to love unconditionally, to give, to serve, to not judge others, to live by God’s word and to model it for others. We no longer become the center of our own lives, Christ does. This often means others do too, as we are called to serve others as Christ served others. We are called to be humble, kind, strong, truthful, to learn and to listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit (even when we don’t want to).

When I think about it this way it sounds simple. It makes all the premeditated instagram posts, the constant resume builders, or the worldly desires I have fall away on a heap beside me. When we put on humility, love and discipline we have nothing to fear from others or the world. It makes me want to run through a field of flowers and joyfully shout that God has GOT THIS. Most of all, it makes me want to keep reading Week 2 of the study…I’m soaking this up like a sponge and can’t wait to see what comes next.

Questions to consider this week:

  1. What righteous thing do I put as more important than God or the Holy Spirit? Is it my own understanding? Is it the teachings of a favorite pastor or author? Evaluate: is God my center?
  2. How is the foolish teachings of the world clouding my judgment? What thing, though it may seem logical, is holding me back from firmly grasping God’s truth?

 

I’d love to know your answers 🙂

~Shelby

 

 

Childlike

Who Is the Greatest? (Hint it isn’t the adults)

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of themand said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:1-6

 

My life has been about a lot of children lately. No I’m not a mother…BUT I teach in an elementary school as a computer teacher for Kindergarten through fifth grade. I think I’ve learned more in the past year than all my other jobs combined. Children are confusing, but cute and usuallllly great. (I will say I’m caught off guard on a daily basis by some of the funny things that come out of their mouths!) I’ll be sure to try and capture some of them because they’re worth sharing.

This morning I read about being a child of God. In order to get into heaven we must humble ourselves as if we were a child. She Reads Truth had some great commentary on what this means as I read my devotional this morning. Interesting food for though, I mean we don’t want to go back to being children…do we? We worked so hard to get to where we are now.
It’s harder as adults. It’s harder to let go and become co dependent again. So many of us fight to be in charge of our lives, to earn a stable life and a happy life. I’m a control freak. I like to know exactly what’s going on, when and why. I want to be prepared for all circumstances. I don’t want to say something dumb and look inadequate…hence why many of us end up silencing our voices and saying nothing at all.
When you’re the teacher at school (or in a bible study or committee or wherever you’re involved) your voice is leading the charge. When I’m teaching I find it frustrating to deal with children that think the rules don’t apply to them (uh hello that applies to 95% of the monsters). When I really should see this as my opportunity to love and to guide them.
Now read that last paragraph again. I think this was a wake up call for me when I read it in the context of being a ‘child’ of God. This same thing happens to us adults- we want to think the rules don’t apply to us or that we know better and need to speak out to make it heard. We don’t like to be disciplined or to sit quietly humbling ourselves and quieting our mouths. We are all children of God and he is asking us to listen because ultimately he knows what is best for us.
Those little boogers at work teach me a lot. And even though they make we crazy on chatty days, I’ve never felt more loved. Take time with a child in your life, a niece, a cousin, a neighbor and show love to them. You may find, through the sass, they teach you more than we teach them.