Being A Servant of God

Grace and peace be yours in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Today we are drawing very close to the end of our journey through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.  As we come close to the end, we find Paul giving specific instructions concerning certain individuals who are extremely important to him, Timothy and Apollos.  His instructions to the church are different concerning each one because their personal circumstances differ from one another.  

First, Paul addresses the situation with Timothy.  
If Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear while with you, because he is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am.  So let no one look down on him. Send him on his way in peace so that he can come to me, because I am expecting him with the brothers.  1 Corinthians 16:10-11

Why would Paul speak this way concerning Timothy.  He speaks of Timothy being fearful and that no one should look down on him!  Why would this even be an issue?  The truth is that we live in a much different culture than those early Christians who were in the ancient world of the Middle East.  

Let’s examine for a moment the life of Jesus.  He was born and lived in practical obscurity until He was thirty years of age!  It was then that He began His public ministry.  Most individuals are well on their way to a carrier by the time they are thirty, yet Jesus was just starting out.  Why?  The reason is that in the middle eastern culture a man was not considered mature and thus to be listened too until he was at least thirty years of age.  If Jesus had begun His ministry earlier, He would have been considered a snot-nosed kid who was to be ignored.    

So here we have Paul giving directions concerning Timothy.  Don’t do anything to cause him fear and don’t let anyone look down on him.  It sounds to me like Timothy is young and vulnerable and needed to be looked after because there are some who will despise him and reject him because of his age.  

Now who are the brothers who were traveling with Timothy to see Paul?  These are evidently the curriers who are bringing messages back and forth.  It was always safer to travel in a group and it is very likely the men and women who were ministering in the churches would travel this way.  Timothy is to be watched over and sent on his way in peace with the brothers.

What we know about Timothy is that he served God faithfully for his entire life, but here at the beginning of his ministry he was a disciple of Paul.  This was a customary practice inherited from Judaism.  A Rabi would have a following of men who were disciples and as they grew and matured, they would eventually assume a leadership role.  This is exactly what Jesus did with the twelve.

Paul has prepared Timothy for leadership in the church, and he has been sent forth to preach Jesus in the churches.  His age is irrelevant when compared with the urgency of spreading the Gospel.  This is something the church has changed as it inherited the discipleship model from Judaism.  When a man is sufficiently knowledgeable and he has a heart filled with passion for the lost, he is to go forth and proclaim Jesus, regardless of his age.  There is no more a limitation of starting at age thirty.

Having addressed Timothy, Paul shifts his attention to Apollos.  
Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers, but he was not at all willing to come now. However, he will come when he has an opportunity.
1 Corinthians 16:12

While Timothy was born into a believing family and raised by a Christian grandmother, Apollos was a highly educated convert to the Christian faith.  He was a man who came out of the pagan world and who truly understood the depths of depravity from which he had been saved.

Paul says he urged Apollos to travel to Corinth with the brothers (curriers) who had been sent from Corinth we would assume with the questions to which Paul is responding in this letter.  Apollos refused to go!  He was evidently determined to stay with Paul and assist him for the time being.  

It is important to note that Paul does not pull rank and demand that Apollos follow his orders.  This is not how the church is to operate.  It is not about power and control, but about love and grace.  Apollos must have believed it was God’s will for him to remain with Paul for that time and minister alongside of him.  Paul understood that God will speak to Apollos as an individual child of His and Paul was not to interfere with the leading God has placed on his life.

This is why when someone comes to me with an idea for ministry, I am always ready to listen to their idea and weigh it according to the Word of God.  It is not my place, even as pastor of the church, to dictate what ministries should or should not take place in our midst.  My only concern is that it is not contrary to the Word of God.  If a person’s ministry idea is not in conflict with God’s revealed will and it is not contrary to the Word of God than my answer will always be yes!  I can never know the passion God has place in the heart of a person or how He will use them to touch and change lives through the ministry He has placed on their heart.

I trust as we move forward together, we will see that we stand together and brothers and sisters in Christ who are charged by God with the unique privilege of sharing His love with the world.  We are not all the same and thank God we are not!  It is as we stand together in all our differences that God can use us in the most effective ways to save the world.

Blessings to you,
Pastor Russ

No Comments




no categories